Nothing says both Carcasonne and Fall to me other than Charles the Hammer and his defense against the Moors.
Or was it the collapse of the power of the Cathars and their subsequent execution by the land-grabbing Catholic-leaning power merchants of the day.
Or is it the stuffing to the gills of local water fall during the autumnal cycle of liver gorging.
Actually, that sounds more like it, but no, I don't think that quite fits the bill.
Geese and Ducks have bills, right?
You certainly get a bill for their white gorged livers.
Hand-fed, btw, none of the disgusting machine-fed geese if you'd please.
Anyhow, Carcasonne and Fall say something with duck to me, but it's not foie gras.
There's definitely a change that occurs with the seasons. In the summer, everything is quick. It's hot, so make it quick. Grill everything. Lots of fresh foods growing in the garden need magic preparation. Keep things simple and taste the flavors of everything growing and fresh.
There are exceptions in the summer to this of course. Smoking pork or brisket is good all times of year, but it's just nice to sit outside, have a cigar, a beer or two, and tend the pit.
In the fall and winter, it's different. It's braising time and the food is generally not as fresh. More reconstitution. More integration of flavors through slow cooking.
The processes take a while and the rewards are worth waiting for.
Well, cassoulet definitely fits that bill.
There are various varieties of these beast of winter food, though the primary homes of this dish come from three cities in the southwest of France, namely Castelnaudary, Toulouse, and Carcassonne. They are all great places in their own right, regardless of their size, history, or presence of walled city and their versions should each be tasted and enjoyed for their grand and heavy delight.
However, the master recipe that I've worked with for years is a fairly slow version of the recipe based on one publicized by the venerable chef, Pierre Franey.
The process involves doing several relatively easy dishes beforehand and then combining them in one relatively easy dish at the end. But it does take time. I even make it a little worse than the recipe because I make the garlic sausage that goes with the beans when you reconstitute them.
The recipe consists of 4 parts and a final assemblage of those parts thereby creating le grand cassoulet. Also, please check out Pierre Franey's Cooking in France. It's a classic cookbook investigating the countryside cuisines