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.
I am short on pictures and I apologize for that. I think when I tell you the whole story you will forgive me….
The first part of this meal requires (as mentioned above) that you make a confit. A confit is a way of preserving a dish by covering it in fat. I chose to do a chicken and olive oil confit. I followed the recipe to a T, placed the dish in the oven and happily continued about my day. The confit bakes in the oven at 200 degrees for 12 hours. Unknown to me the olive oil was overflowing the pans and filling the bottom of my oven…..
This particular dish is made over a few days so I wasn’t distressed. I simply cleaned the bottom of my oven, listened to my husband grumble about the smoke, worried about the birds and prepared for the next step.
It was a far bit from payday so I was not able to use fresh herbs as suggested. I finished up the next part of the dish which involved soaking the beans overnight, cooking them with onions, herbs and pork belly and browned the sausages.
I had doubled the recipe because of our large family (it wasn’t necessary) and I filled a LARGE Dutch oven and started the oven to preheating.
Smoke! Once again the house was filled with the noxious fumes…
I walked into the kitchen thinking I had somehow missed some of the olive oil, expected it to burn off quickly. Flames were shooting out of the bottom of my oven!! Unbeknownst to me the olive oil had leaked down by the warming unit and was now burning with a vengenance.
Long story short, and lots of salt later…I was able to clean the oven (another day of work) and finally cook the cassoulet. Would I do it again? Yes! (carefully) it was a fabulous dish.
You can find the recipe here.