Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.
There’s something nice about returning back home from a long holiday in Singapore and the Philippines, I enjoy eating out but I really miss having the creativity and control over what I eat. Amongst the delicious things I ate, I must have consumed an unhealthy amount of MSG, hydrogenated fats, refined carbohydrates, sugar & salt. Oh well, I had fun trying all those things! (VERY long holiday food blog to follow… )
I arrived home with only 2 days left to complete this challenge. As the original recipe instructs 3 days of preparation, then consume on day 4, there was no way I had enough time to complete this dish! Fortunately the DC hosts Jenni and Lisa mercifully included a thirty minute version for cooks who are short of time!
I was quite militant with emptying my fridge before we departed on holiday so restocking was on the agenda. Dizzy from Jet lag, I wandered around the supermarket grabbing essentials, chocolate included. I had to get my brain back into thinking in sterling, not dollars and pesos…
It was a joyous occasion to be reunited with my kitchen! There is definitely something more satisfying about eating food that you’ve lovingly prepared. I made some substitutions – chicken sausages instead of bratwurst, mixed beans & edemame in place of cannellini, and I also threw in some spinach. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to make a confit but I will definitely be adding this to my to-do list. I really enjoyed this challenge and I hope one day to attempt the long version.
Thirty Minute Cassoulet
Thirty Minute Cassoulet by Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way, KQED
1 tablespoon (15 ml) good olive oil
About 1 pound (500 gm) rolled shoulder ham (also called a daisy ham or Boston Butt), tough outer skin removed
About 3/4 pound (350 gm) hot Italian sausages, cut into 3-inch (75 mm) pieces (about 6 pieces)
4 bratwurst sausages (about 1 pound/500 gm)
1 cup (240 ml)diced (1/2 inch/15 mm) whole button mushrooms (about 3 ounces/85 gm)
3/4 cup (180 ml) diced (1/2-inch/15 mm)) onion
2 tablespoons (30 ml) crushed garlic (about 4 large cloves)
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 gm) dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 (15½ ounces/440 gm each) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed under warm running water
3/4 cup (180 ml) (about 7 oz/200 gm) diced (1-inch/25 mm) tomato (1 large plump tomato)
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (30 grams)coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ham and Italian sausage.
2. Cover and cook over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
3. Add the bratwurst, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Mix well and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add the beans, tomato, water, and pepper, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and boil gently for 5 minutes.
5. At serving time, discard the bay leaf, cut the ham into slices and the sausage pieces in half, and arrange the meat on a platter with the beans.
6. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve with the Tabasco and mustard.