I said “…may have as much to do with…”, not that the method defines the dish irrespective of ingredients.
I guess what I’m suggesting is that “traditional regional variations” may be more of a modern construct than we appreciate. It was not until the 17th Century that beans (other than hyacinth and fava) made their cultivar inroads to France from Mexico, via Italy. And later that restaurants originated, and later still that recipes were published and widely disseminated. As Clifford Wright has observed: “Cassoulet is a paradigm for a culinary understanding of the Languedoc, for there is a different recipe in every kitchen.”
The etymology of–and historical-political eddys behind ‘cassoulet’ are murky. The “original” dish might be said to be Aragonese-Catalonian. Or, further removed, of the Mozarab-speakers in Moorish Spain. Or of North Africa or the Levant. Or the name might just as well be a referent to the clay vessel alone.
I am not urging the cultural triviality of cassoulet, merely that we should not take for granted that any specific ingredients are “original” or “authentic”. It’s bean stew, after all.
Don’t get me started about the Secret of the Seven Skins…