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Somehow this little, much beloved recipe escaped the Book. I called it the Sweetheart Cassoulet-perfect for two. Consider it an early Valentine’s gift to all you who make salty tasty bits of pork. It’s barely a recipe, more a little trick you can play with some cooked beans and good bits of charcuterie. Keep it simple and enjoy with a friend.

Here’s how I make this little Sweetheart Cassoulet. You can use leftover beans, lentils, grains or even rice. And of course, raid your larder for some salty bits of charcuterie. I love the beans and the sweet orange flesh together.

  1. Take a small bag of beans and cook them up with some clean water, onion, thyme, bay, salt and black pepper (you’ll have leftovers to use in a soup or purée). Depending on the size of your little squash, you’ll need a couple of cups. Do NOT discard the cooking broth. You’ll use it later.
  2. Take some bacon, coppa, or ham bits and chopped them into thin slices. You can use some sausage if you like. Maybe you have one or two duck legs confited in your freezer. This is a good time to use them up.
  3. Clean out the center of a small squash or pumpkin and brush the cavity and exposed flesh with oil. Any kind of oil. Then salt and pepper generously, maybe even a dusting of piment d’Espelette.
  4. Layer the cooked beans and the charcuterie pieces inside until the cavity is filled. Pour in enough of the bean broth so the cavity is filled to the brim with liquid and beans.
  5. Place in a hot oven in a pan (around 425’F/225/C) for at least an hour until the squash is completely cooked to fork tender. If it starts to get too brown, you can cover with some foil.
  6. Now open a bottle of good French wine, make a little green salad, and sit at the table with your sweetheart. Eh, voila!

And if you now ready to get serious about making Charcuterie so you always have some ham or bacon around to use for lazy cooking like this, come study with us in France this year. There are two new courses-one for the serious folks and one for beginners. Check out the courses here.

Beautiful photograph by the lovely Tim Clinch.