Kerouac and others were discussing tinned cassoulet a while back. Now, except for good sardines, tuna and other fishy things, canned food is often seen as second best, as an emergency supply, for people who don't know how to cook (overtaken in this by ready meals) and as donations to food banks.
I'm making a batch of black beans for a birthday dinner using canned beans and jarred salsa. I drain off the beans and add chopped garlic, celery and onion that's been sautéed in olive oil before also adding several jars of a good salsa. This time I plan to add beef sausage that has been cut into chunks and also sautéed in the oil first. I'm making it all a day ahead of time and it should get even better sitting overnight in the frig. We like to serve our beans over yellow rice with fresh chopped onion, oil and red wine vinegar for a topping.
I just started reading that blog abot the cassoulet. Stopped when she put bread crumbs and thyme. La Belle Chaurienne brand is what people here in the southwest buy when they don't make their own, but it is heated simply by grilling in the oven. There are special little dishes for it, "cassolettes", but I just put it in a pan.
It doesn't need any additions!
I use canned red beans when I make chili. Instead of soaking dry ones for hours. I do rinse off the sludge in the can though.
I have read a number of times that tinned tomatoes (whole, pulped or sauces) are far superior to fresh tomatoes for cooking needs for reasons that I have forgotten and don't really feel like looking up at this precise moment. But I recall that it has something to do with "precooked" tomatoes conserving and even enhancing something or other that is good for us while eliminating elements that are not so good.
Indeed tin items are most valuable in our cooking repertoire. Most especially stewed or whole tomatoes, and, tomato paste. I've resorted to canned black beans in a pinch, and,treated properly with the right spices and condiments are perfectly acceptable. I think that the only thing I would eschew would be any type of tinned potatoes, several green vegetables,(green beans and spinach or broccoli, cabbage,and numerous others.) Tinned corn treads a thin line, but, in a pinch, I would use it.
It's funny, because tonight I am making a dish and am using tinned artichokes, properly seasoned, with a little know how and a culinary sense, perfectly edible and delicious.
I am reminded that my family members use canned sweet potatoes for casseroles and pies, and I find the practice fairly disgusting. I'd rather use fresh or go without and think there is a major significance in the quality and flavor.
All I know is, is that I am on a constant quest to look for tinned tomatoes that DO NOT contain calcium carbonate. They put it in there to keep the tomatoes whole when processing, but mostly they stop the tomatoes from breaking down in a sauce when you want them to. I think it affects the taste, as well. Very few brands don't use it, mostly Italian.
Well there you go. The only tomato products that don't consistently use calcium chloride are paste, sauce, passata, and one we have here, ground tomatoes (tomato sludge). Of course, I'm talking supermarket brands, not the $6 tins of San Marzanos.
My only exploding can was tomato paste. It completely repainted the ceiling when I pierced it with the can opener.
I see the pretty artisanal tins of sardines when I go to coastal towns. In Etretat, there is a cannery with absolutely beautiful tins. Unfortunately, I do not want to pay three times the usual price for sardines, so most of mine come with a Carrefour or Auchan logo on them.
It is important to rotate them. They are safe beyond date, but not eternally. Once when moving I found 20-year-old tins in a corner. No, I didn't open them.
Latvian Riga Gold sprats (in a round tin; they also come jarred) are on promo at one of my favourite shops this coming week. I already have a couple and must put the older ones (no more than a few months old; I like them too much) atop the new ones.
I have always seen big tins of pilchards in tomato sauce in all of the Asian supermarkets. I still wonder what they do with them because to me they seem to be the absolute antithesis of Chinese cuisine. Maybe they feed it to the toothless granny in the corner who will swallow anything mushy.