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Everyone has a personal definition of the perfect comfort food.
It might be something as simple as dipping a buttery Madeleine in a cup of steaming tea or as involved as a crock full of cassoulet.
Whether you are an avid fan of French cuisine or a native as I am, we all have our favorite comfort food recipes.
Cassolette Cooking Is Perfect For A Casual Meal or Formal Dinner
Comfort foods not only come in a wide variety of recipes but there are dozens of ways to serve them – in a bowl or cup for soup, on an oval platter for everyone’s rack of ribs or in a deep casserole for gooey mac and cheese.
Perhaps it’s just dinner for two or you don’t want or need to prepare a large 9 x 13 casserole for a family gathering.
What happens when you want to refresh leftovers? Dress them up in a single serving dish. Prepare a cassolette!
This is how I prepare and cook individual servings of our favorite comfort food recipes!
Technically, It’s The Dish Not The Recipe
A cassolette refers to the dish itself, not the actual recipe used to fill it. But, just to make things well – typically “French” – it can also mean the recipe itself.
So, we can have a cassolette aux fruits de mer (a seafood recipe) prepared and served in – a cassolette!
Gourmet Meals In Individual Servings
The oven-safe cassolette dish comes in different sizes but the ideal size for a single serving is 8 to 16 ounces. Anything larger and it automatically becomes a small casserole!
Most restaurants serve such meals with the actual cassolette dish on a large charger sized plate so that another component of the meal can be included. The dish below is a perfect example of a bistro style cassolette meal.
From A Single Ingredient To Complex Recipes
A cassolette can be simple or complex.
Love mushrooms? Prepare a cassolette of the freshest button mushrooms sauteed in garlic butter and topped off with seasoned bread crumbs and grated Tomme de Savoie.
Love seafood? Prepare a more complex recipe – cassolette of flounder stuffed with lump crab (Cassolette de sole farçie au crabe), shrimp and scallops or straight up lobster in a rich cream sauce. To die for!
Prefer meats? Fill you cassolette with a Boeuf Bourguignon, a Blanquette de Veau or Chicken!
Add a salad and crusty bread for a complete meal.
My favorite? A deep cassolette filled with escargots and mushrooms, a side of buttery mashed potatoes, a salad and un verre de vin. The only thing left to do is tuck me in.
World Famous To Regional Specialties
While many French comfort food recipes such as the traditional Cassoulet or the classic Boeuf Bourguignon are usually prepared in a large cassole or Dutch Oven, cassolettes required different proportions.
There is no easy way to prepare a true Cassoulet in small portions. Most recipes are designed to serve 10 to 12 dinner guests. Beef Bourguignon can be prepared in slightly smaller quantities – to feed 6 or 8.
When it comes to cassolette recipes, it’s not just a matter of diving the original recipe by half, thirds or quarters.
In a hurry? I suppose nobody will be the wiser if you prepare a full recipe and divide it into individual containers.
But a typical cassolette recipe generally does not make more than 3 to 4 servings. Four cassolette sized servings!
Prep time is minimal, with ingredients placed directly into the individual dishes. Cooking time depends entirely on the ingredients.
- Meats can take up to 45 minutes in the oven
- Seafood anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes
- Potato gratins can cook through in about 30 minutes
- Precooked veggies topped with breadcrumbs and cheese – a mere 5 minutes under the broiler to melt the cheese!
The Ideal Way To Disguise Leftovers!
Think of the cassolette as a way to serve perfect portions of any comfort food but these wonderful little dishes are also the perfect way to serve leftovers under a different guise. What leftovers?
Don’t forget that leftover roast meats and other comfort foods can quickly and easily become fancy cassolettes with the addition of different toppings.
- Mashed potatoes
- Corn Bread Batter
- A crumb crust or
- Puff pastry
They are also the perfect way to experiment or serve rich food in small quantities.
Plating Makes Any Cassolette Special
Larger cassolette dishes make it difficult to serve the entire meal on a regular sized dinner plate. The smaller rectangular cassolettes just fit on an extra large dinner plate.
But the 8-ounce cassolettes fit perfectly on a fancy paper doily and presented on a charger sized plate or a 14-inch round square plate. There is even room for a side dish or vegetables.
French Food Vocabulary
Throughout my article, you will notice that I include French words, food vocabulary and recipes names.
I am constantly amazed at the number of English words (American English as well) which have – over many years – silently crept into the daily conversation. What would the Académie think of this? They’ve been defining the French language since 1635.
It made me sad to think that I can now shop in my hometown mini-mart and find McCain® frozen fries and White Castle® cheeseburgers in the glass door reach-in freezer. Sacrilège.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself doing a double take while speaking with a “grande surface” butcher. She was speaking French of course but suddenly, it was impossible to understand what she was saying.
Image this… English food vocabulary with a Ch’ti accent. Yes, I mean no! Please, I had enough trouble learning the English language.
Home Style Comfort Food Recipes
With cassoletterecipes.com, I’ll take you on a foodie adventure through the world of French mini casseroles.
Quick to prepare, fun to serve and filled with perfect portions of your favorite foods.
Time to sit down and eat. À table. Asseyez vous s’il vous plait et