Friday, January 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks January 2011 Challenge: Hearty Winter Stew - The French Way

Happy new year Daring Cooks! It feels so good to be back! I wasn't able to join last month's challenge but I made sure that I started 2011 right by resolving (uh-oh new year's resolutions) to face and complete all challenges (food and otherwise) for the whole year.

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.

Cassoulet is a rich, slow cooked stew or casserole that originated in the south of France during the 14th century. It traditionally contains pork, sausages, and white beans as well as a duck or goose confit and then topped with fried bread crumbs or cracklings. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, which is a deep, round earthenware pot with slanted sides. This is a dish that traditionally takes about three days to prepare, but is oh so worth all the effort!! A confit, in case you don’t know, is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. It is essentially any kind of food that has been immersed in any kind of fat for both flavor and preservation. When stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months! Typically meats (most often waterfowl) are preserved in fats, while fruits are preserved in sugar.

*We had to make confit to be incorporated in the cassoulet. I chose the easier route by making chicken confit with butter. Can I just say, the smell, taste and texture of the chicken confit is sooooooooooo good. I couldn't stop myself from smelling and yes, picking some of the chicken just to taste...

For the complete recipe of Anthony Bourdain's recipe click here. I made some changes as suggested by our hosts. I didn't use pork rind to line my dish for the cassoulet, and substituted bacon.


And here is the cassoulet, ready for eating...I had a taste and boy was it good!

Thank you Jenni and Lisa for this month's DC challenge! It was truly a learning experience reading through the posts in the forum and taking your suggestions.













21 comments:

Audax said...

I like how you made ramekins servings of this incredibly rich recipe. So good to hear that you liked it so much.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Tanya said...

I'm glad you decided to do this challenge. Your soup looks great with the breadcrumbs on top. It looks so hearty and delicious.

lisamichele said...

Thanks so much for taking part in our challenge! Your cassoulet looks awesome and I love the idea of using butter as the fat for the chicken confit. I can almost taste it, and would try it if I hadn't already ingested all the fat from two cassoulets..lol Amazing job!!

PALATABLE said...

Excellent and yummy! Love the way you've prepared them....

http://treatntrick.blogspot.com

Melanie said...

I'm so glad I was the only one who munched my way through the preparation of this dish! Yours looks delightful!

shelley c. said...

Yummm- chicken confit in butter sounds SO decadent!! Your cassoulet looks amazing!! Great job! :)

Rochelle said...

Great job on your cassoulet! I have to remember to use butter, like you did, next time I make this :)

Ruth H. said...

Great looking cassoulet! So warm, hearty and inviting... I like the way you played with the recipe a bit to make it something that is truly your own!!

oggi said...

I never thought of making chicken confit. I'll try it next time. Your stew looks yummy.:)

TaGa_Luto said...

Hi, Chef D! OMG!! who would have thought you were inactive as well! But guess i was gone longer! The moment i saw your ramekin..i should have thought about it. I had way too much beans and meat it didn't fit my dutch oven, so half of the ingredients are in the ref. I do have a ramekin similar to yours....Welcome back to me and you! lol!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Well done! That is one delicious and comforting speciality.

Cheers,

Rosa

Creating Nirvana said...

I love the color of your cassoulet. Great job on this challenge.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Happy you joined us for the new year, cheers to resolutions and making great dishes as you have done here once again.

Cristina | Mafalda said...

Congratulations! Next time I'll try the chicken confit as well... looks wonderful! You asked how my blood sausage affects the taste of the cassoulet... well, it spices it a bit but not as much as the flour sausage. The flour sausage is made with porc fat, spices and flour and it overstates it´s presence above the others. It really tastes good and I served with a fabulous red wine - cabernet sauvignon. Still can taste it!
Loved to hear from you! Till next time!!
Kisses from Mafalda in Portugal

Renata said...

I totally agree with you, this challenge was soooo delicious, even my quick and altered version was so yummy. I still want to make the duck confit (or chicken, like you did), I'm sure it is to die for! Congratulations on your cassoulet it really looks divine!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

your cassoulet looks so good! I bet it was delicious! Great job!

Suzler said...

Wow, the butter confit chicken sounds delicious. I'll have to give that one a go as well. Your cassoulet looks wonderful - hearty and appetising. Great job!

Mary said...

This looks wonderful, and chicken confit in butter sounds amazing--I'd be picking at it too! All the best for 2011!
:)

Sarah said...

Your cassoulet looks great! Welcome back to blogging.

Tangled Noodle said...

Such an impressive dish, especially your chicken confit! What a grand way to start a new year of blogging. 8-D

Cookinva said...

Looking at your post, I want to try chicken confit next! Your cassoulet looks fantastic!