January 18, 2011

.daring cooks challenge: january.

 Better late than never, right? So, yes, I am a bit late on the challenge this month. I have been having some events that have kept me out of the kitchen quite a bit. Or at least from making anything interesting. I suppose I could show you all my fruit and PB&J sandwiches that I eat. I'll put it on the consideration list.

Leek Confit
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 tradition recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.
Deer Sausage, mmm
Y'all totally know I didn't use those recipes though, right? I'm pretty predictable when you get right down to it. I decided to go with a vegetarian version of the confit and Cassoulet because I really just couldn't see myself cooking anything in 4 cups of duck fat. Sorry. But I couldn't. I'm sure this dish, if done the proper French way, would be absolutely delicious, and if I ever see it in a restaurant I may order it, but I personally don't like to cook like that in my own kitchen.

So, I opted for a leek confit recipe by Molly Wizenberg (who runs Orangette, by the way) that can be found at bonappetit.com. Then I used a vegetarian Cassoulet recipe by Melissa Roberts that can be found at Epicurious. And because the Man and I do love meat, I added some recently caught and processed jalapeno and cheddar deer sausage. Add a quick cornbread mix and this was really one hell of a meal. And a Sam Adams for the Man.

Cooking this meal was fairly straight forward, although it did take a bit of time. It took roughly an hour and half from start to finish. I think if I make it again I will just use onions instead of leeks. Also, while I was cooking it, the smell of garlic was quite overpowering. I was worried that I had added a bit too much. I did what any good wife would do- I made the Man taste it first. Bwahaha. He actually claimed it was a little bit bland. Since we were adding the spicy and flavorful deer sausage though I left it like that and the two combined exceptionally. I would say if you're not adding any sausage (vegan or real) to liven up the flavors you would probably want to add some extra seasoning. I also read on the super secret Daring Cooks forum that some people used chicken stock to simmer the cassoulet and I think that would add a good kick of extra flavors as well.

I feel like this really does the trick as a great cold-weather recipe and can be adapted for many different tastes.


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