Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the Traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They chose a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.
I toyed with the idea of a vegetarian version and got started by making the garlic confit. This was easy and smelled divine.
But I couldn't find gluten flour for the veggie sausages and somehow a vegetarian cassoulet didn't feel right.
Then, just when I was thinking I would sit this month out, inspiration struck.
BBQ season is in full swing right now in Australia which always means lots of left over sausages. So I decided to make a summer cassoulet incorporating the garlic confit and some really good quality left-over pork snags, plus some bacon to up the pork factor. I used tinned beans to save cooking time and replaced the breadcrumb topping with thin slices of toast, so it didn't have to be baked.
And? It was DELICIOUS. Way better than I expected and definitely the best thing I have ever made without following a recipe.
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 rashers of bacon, diced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 fresh tomatos, chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
15 cloves of garlic confit (see below)
2 cooked left-over BBQ sausages, preferably high quality pork, chopped into small pieces
1. Place oil, onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf in a large pan over medium heat, and cook, covered, for around 10 minutes, stirring sometimes, until the veggies are softening.
2. Add bacon, stir and cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes.
3. Add tomato, stir and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the beans, garlic confit and sausage pieces. Stir gently, trying not to break up the garlic and beans too much.
5. Turn the heat to low, replace the lid and leave to cook for a further 20 minutes, checking sometimes and giving a gentle stir.
Serve with salad, a thin and crispy piece of toast and, if you choose, a refreshing ale.
(adapted from here Saveur magazine)
1½ tsp sea salt (if using table salt, use ½ the amount)
10 whole black peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
60 garlic cloves, peeled and 1 bay leaf
1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Put ingredients in a pot adding enough oil so the garlic is submerged. Cover pot. Bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 1 hour. Let cool.
2. Transfer mixture to a glass jar; cover surface of oil with plastic wrap. Cover jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.