On Monday evening I was on my way from work when I remembered I had to visit a local farmer who is a member of our hunting group. He was asking if I could get a few guns together to shoot pigeon (they are a scourge at the moment) over his land at the weekend. I am unable as I am off up to the Baltic (Wismar) with my kegel brethren, but I have got a few of my club mates that are quite willing to loose off a few shots it their general direction.
As I entered the "hof" I noticed the his cold room was open, me not being the nosey type stuck my nose around the door and their on the tables where 4 or 5 washing baskets full of meat, his missus was busy sorting it out. I asked what was up then my dear, giving her a peck on the cheek, as one does in these parts. Just then the Alter (the father of the Bauer) came in, I shook his hand as one does in these parts ( you should not get them mixed up). We had a chat and I inquired what meat was in the baskets, he said it was calf, they had, had a couple slaughtered and he had just butchered them. Oh! said I, it looks all very nice, wink wink, I can see it has been butchered by an expert (you are now getting my drift), at which point we got into a deep conversation about the youth of today, how they are all not willing to learn a decent trade, how things had never been so bad and how hard times had become, that the price that they are getting for the porkers and beast are a travesty and it is all the fault of the EU. I of course agreed with with his every sentiment and even offered my sympathy about the miserable state of the Nation, Europe and the world in general ( he didn't seem to have a lot of time for returning Germans from the Baltic states, Russia or Romania).
Just then the Jung-alter (his son) pulled up in a brand new top of the range Merc 4x4, "hard times" eh, wink, wink. I said hi and didn't kiss him on the cheek as one doesn't do in these parts. I said I had arranged for a few to come shooting over the corn stubble on Saturday, He went into the house and came back a "Granate", a grenade is a bottle of klare Wacholder Doppelkorn (clear twice distilled schnapps) flavoured with juniper not unlike gin. We had a couple (I was driving so had to be careful).
Just as I was about to leave the Alter-alter came around the corner with a parcel and pushed it into my hands saying " here is a little something for the pot". He then said when your up in Wismar see if you can get a couple of smoked eels for me, I said I most certainly will, well I mean sources like this have got to be kept sweet, wink, wink.
I got in my car and just then Renate (the young farmers wife) came back out of the house with a half a dozen fresh eggs for me and a peck on the cheek, as one does in these parts. As I pulled away, I heard the Alter-alter say "nah junge, sehs'te nicht alle Englander sind schlecht" (see my boy, not all English are bad) now that IS a pat on the back around these parts.
So getting home I unpacked my parcel and in it was 2 wonderful Kalbskotletten (calves cutlets or chops as some would term them). These went into the fridge, as I contemplated how I was going to cook them. I had a look through a load of my cookery books English, German and a variety of others just to get some ideas. I was nonchalantly flicking through the Rick Stein French Odyssey and PING, I came across Cassoulet. I thought, well I could do my lazy mans cassoulet the next day.
So folks here it is!
2 calves cutlets (bone in)
1 large onion sliced
200g of chestnut mushrooms
50g of dried ceps
4 carrots chopped
3 sticks of celery chopped
white of a leek chopped
125g of speck (chopped smoked streaky bacon)
2 large cloves of garlic
800g tin of pinto beans
400g tin of butter beans
400g tin of diced tomatoes
4 red roasted red peppers (out of a glass)
1 bunch of fresh herbs (I had bay leaf, rosemary, sage, lemon and normal thyme from my balcony)
1 chillie (also from my balcony)
A couple of table spoons of goulash seasoning (I made this up a couple of months back and consists in the main (I think) of paprika, marjoram, thyme, mint, ground coriander seeds, garlic and celery salt
1 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1/2 litre of vegetable stock
4 table spoons of corn oil
Salt and Pepper to taste (I used my special herbal salt from the Vendée salines)
Put the dried ceps into a bowl and cover with water. Put a heavy casserole onto the heat add the oil add onions and soften add garlic but don't let it colour.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, season the cutlets, put the remainder of the oil in and add the cutlets to the casserole and brown.
Remove and set to one side, add the speck and let it sizzle until it starts to release its fat, now return the onions and garlic, placing cutlets on top.
Chop the chilli and put together with the herbs on top.of the meat
I had pre-heated the oven to 180°C, put the top on my bonnie blue Casserole and popped it into the oven for 3 hours.
The photos will be on board tonight!!! I had three plates last night will be having some at lunch and some more tonight. The rest will be frozen for a later date. Must say I am quite (no very) pleased with the result and may even take a portion around for my mate's missus, I am thinking of making Coq au Vin and need an old cockerel (and a peck on the cheek as one does around here). Wink, Wink!!!!