Jan 19, 2011

{daring cooks: cassoulet}

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.

Okay so technically this challenge was to make a confit (any kind of food that has been immersed in any kind of fat for both flavor and preservation) and include it in a cassoulet (a french slow cooked stew). Now, I have to be honest, I had planned to do the garlic confit but in the end decided to skip it. I saw no point to it and decided the dish would be fine without it.

The recipe I chose came from the same source that all of my recent slow cooker dishes have come from: Slow Cooker – The Best Cookbook Ever. Other than the fact that the original recipe did not fit inside my slow cooker thus causing it to boil over a few times, it turned out great! For the final 30 minutes of cooking I transferred the slow cooker insert into the oven to allow the topping to crisp up. I recruited John for this part since it was a bit of a feat...the cassoulet was practically overflowing.  We did enjoy it though and it made for some delicious leftovers.

Recipe after the jump

{lamb cassoulet with white beans and rosemary}

recipe adapted from: Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever by Diane Phillips
serves: 6


2 cans cannelloni beans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, with their juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf


1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely choppsed fresh parsley


Place the beans into a 5-7 quart slow cooker. Season cubed lamb with salt and pepper and place into slow cooker.

In a skillet over medium, place the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and rosemary and sauté until the vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the chicken broth to the skillet and heat. Transfer the tomato mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the remaining broths and the bay leaf.

Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-12 hours, until the beans and lamb are tender.

Combine all the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl while the lamb is cooking. Cover and refrigerate while the dish is cooking.

Uncover the cooker and spoon off any fat on the surface. Taste and adjust with seasoning. Sprinkle the topping over the cassoulet, cover and cook on high another 30 minutes. If you need to, you can pre-heat your oven to 350º and place the slow cooker into the oven for 30 minutes or until the topping is browned.

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