MaMou’s Red Bean Cassoulet – Garden & Gun

“I’ve always loved this building,” says Tom Branihan, executive chef at MaMou, a new restaurant on North Rampart Street in New Orleans. “There’s something very charming about an old corner store space in the French Quarter.”

The beloved studio spot that once housed Mover has been refreshed with splashes of fuchsia and emerald green, courtesy of Studio West’s design team, Jenny West and Jason Richards. A bush of artificial flowers hangs from the ceiling of his cozy 42-seat room, and a custom wine refrigerator stretches along the front wall. These are the domains of her Molly Wismeier, Branighan’s business partner and former sommelier at Restaurant R’evolution.

Photo: Sam Hannah

Inside MaMou.

The duo created a space in MaMou that would prove both of their careers. Wismeier offers a rotating grand list of enviable bottles and a selection of rare Coravin-infused labels, while Branighan nods to his culinary journey. From New Orleans in Emeril, to the Culinary Institute of America, to Michelin-rated Café Brew and Bouley in New York City, to Lacroix in Philadelphia, with a price list.

“We have a lot of simple French plates on our menu, like Poisson à la Florentine with caviar beurre blanc,” Branigan says of MaMou, named after his great-grandmother. “But I also wanted to imagine the city through a new lens. What would our cuisine be like if we were staying in French territory?”

These reimaginings include the Gulf fish ‘cote bouillon’ with oyster dressing and rouille and his best-selling starter, braised celery hearts with smoked beef tongue. “I think it’s the most interesting dish on the menu,” says Branigan. “Our bars wash the whiskey in butter. Then put that butter back in and emulsify it with tomatoes. It’s the one in which the sauce is poured.”

But perhaps the most comforting combination of this old-world French cuisine with hearty, rustic Louisiana ingredients is the red bean cassoulet. For a smooth, flavorful and creamy dish, the beans are slow-cooked and low to barely al dente, releasing the hard-won nuances of pickle juice and hot sauce and topped with toasted cornbread crumbles. increase.

“I developed this dish over the course of about two years during the pandemic,” explains Branihan. “Of course you’ll socially distance and have friends. Making red beans is what you do in New Orleans. I like to make it.Then the adzuki beans are seasoned with pickling juice.Like a traditional cassoulet, the beans are made into a little soup.I decided to put it on the menu.The person said on the top. I suggested having a slice of head cheese, which makes perfect sense as the head cheese slowly melts into the red beans.”

That’s how Branihan serves cassoulet at MaMou, though he says he doesn’t need head cheese for the home version he shares below. If you can put it in, you won’t regret the effort.

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