Friday, January 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks make a casserole?

Don't worry: it's not tuna noodle with potato chips on top! It's cassoulet: a classic French stew of white beans, sausage, confit duck and pork. Topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and baked, it's warm and comforting, and a bit stodgy too. Perfect for January! Jenni, of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa, of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives really challenged us this month, to make a confit, and even our own sausage! Normally I love doing stuff like that, even if I don't eat a lot of meat. That's what dinner parties are for, right? This month, because I still felt full a week after the holidays, I decided to make a vegetarian version. I started with this recipe, but made quite a few changes. First off, I skipped the carrots, as I don't find they roast all that well. I couldn't find celery root, so I used fennel instead. I love fennel--it's a winter staple around here. I used cherry tomatoes instead of canned and added a bit of tomato paste to the broth. I roasted all the vegetables, including a red onion. For the topping, I used fresh bread crumbs, parsley and the shallot confit I made. They were the best breadcrumbs ever, even before baking. I served the cassoulet with more shallot confit and some chimichurri sauce, to brighten up the long-cooked flavours. I must say, it worked a treat and I went back for seconds. Now, to eat the other 6 portions...
Complete challenge PDF here, with pictures, recipes and links. I have not included recipes, as I don't often measure when I'm cooking. Instead, I just use recipes as a guide. Try it!
Blog Checking Lines: 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.

22 comments:

chef_d said...

Your vegetarian cassoulet looks delicious and the chimichurri sauce sauce must be a very yummy addition! I know what you mean by using the recipe as a guide....that's how I do it too. Excellent job on this challenge!

yummychunklet said...

Looks very earthy and delicious!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

That looks incredibly tasty! I'd be so pleased to be served this at a dinner party.

veggietestkitchen said...

Wow, I like your veg version. I could definitely eat this. I went for a veg version also. cheers!

Valerie said...

Mary, this is the perfect meal for those post-holiday, cold weather blues! I love that you made a vegetarian version.

Hope you're feeling better! :-)

Lisa said...

Mary, I knew you would turn out a beautiful cassoulet, and the shallots confit sounds awesome! Amazing photos too, as always :) Thanks so much for taking part in our challenge!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Absolutely gorgeous!
I don't know how you do such lovely thoughtful artful and complex dishes when you are under the weather... but, they will definitely be good for nourishing the body and the soul. A vegetarian cassoulet is almost blasphemous, isn't it? I love it! I can't and don't eat much meat, either, so love your ingenuity here. I would love your recipe for chimichurri sauce - even though you don't use recipes... I think you might have one for this.
:)
Valeire
GET WELL!

Ruth H. said...

Wow, a roasted vegetable cassoulet... Please can I come over next time you make this? It looks and sounds divine! I always love to see what you come up with, and I am never disappointed. Great job, and THANK YOU!

David and Stacy said...

Um, tuna noodle and potato chips is good!

Excellent result and interpretation! Well done indeed!

Stay JOLLY!
D&S

Renata said...

Wonderful Cassoulet, Mary! I specially love the crumbs on top, they look so crunchy and delicious!! I must try this vegetarian version, sounds so much lighter!

Suzler said...

That all sounds so heavenly. I love the tweaks: the shallot confit, the chimichurri sauce, the fennel. Beautiful pictures too. My mouth is watering!

blepharisma said...

Fennel!!! I should have used that, since I don't love celery (although it was actually good in the cassoulet). The shallot confit sounds like a good idea too. Love the pics.

Creating Nirvana said...

Beautiful job on this challenge! I love the crust on the vegetarian cassoulets.

Rhyleysgranny said...

That looks wonderful. I have never made a proper cassoulet. I must do this. Well done.

Audax said...

WOW so many different ingredients in this recipe sound so tasty and the final dish looks fabulous I love the addition of leek confit that is inspired! Your pictures are superb I love the crumbs and the cherry tomatoes in you dish. Deliciousness personified.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Love your veggie changes, I adore fennel too and cherry tomatoes is brilliant. I would be happy to devour a bowl of your cassoulet.

Brownieville Girl said...

This looks heavenly Mary.

Renata said...

Hi a gain, Mary. Thanks for your lovely comment. Yes, I could've made feijoada, but it is not appealing for summer temperatures either.. and that wouldn't have been a challenge for me... by the way, I never make my feijoada like the really traditional one, because it involves parts of the pig that I really don't like :o/ Now THAT would've been a challenge! lol

Beth said...

Mary. I lost track of you. So glad I stopped by. This dish looks amazing. I WILL be cooking it this week. Happy New Year to you. B:)

Valérie said...

This looks delicious, every bit as good as the meat version! I do recommend making duck confit at least once, because it really is delicious, but your vegetarian version is so creative! Well done!

Cakelaw said...

This looks and sounds fantastic Mary! And I am starving right now...

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

I love anything with crispy bread crumbs and your pictures make me wish I had a fork! And then you had to mention "shallot confit"!! Seriously Mary, this looks and sounds fantastic!