Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet – A Daring Cook’s Challenge

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 had hoped that by this time I would have the new design up and would be back to posting more often, but seeing as I have hit a snag and now must learn a bit more about html/css/xml etc. before I can do what I want it will be a bit longer until I can make my vision come to light! 

This snag I’ve gotten caught on also caused me to totally forget all about the Daring Cook’s challenge this month until about oh… 4 days ago! Seeing as I didn’t participate in last month’s challenge (which is silly because I know how to poach and egg now and it would’ve been super easy for me) I didn’t want to skip this month’s challenge which is cassoulet. 

For those that don’t know what cassoulet is, it’s basically a stew/casserole that originated in France (the south of France if I remember correctly) and is very very rich. It’s also supposed to take about 3 days to prepare and serve it on the 4th. You can see where I’m going with this, I’m sure. 

This means I got to have the fun of improvising! 
Chicken Confit Using Olive Oil
Chicken Confit by Emeril Lagasse
, via Food Network
  • 4 chicken leg portions with thighs attached, excess fat trimmed and reserved (about 2 pounds/ about 1 kg total)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon (15.6 ml) kosher salt (**note: if using table salt, use ½ the amount)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7½ ml) (6 gm) black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon ( 2½ ml) (3 gm) table salt
  • 4 cups (1 liter) olive oil  
1. Lay the leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the kosher salt and black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme on each of 2 leg portions. Lay the remaining 2 leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top. Put the reserved fat from the chicken in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
2 .Preheat the oven to cool 200°F/90°C/gas mark ¼.
3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat and reserve. Rinse the chicken with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.
4. Put the reserved garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat in the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and salt. Lay the chicken on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil. Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.
The recipe above is straight from The Daring Kitchen post for this month's challenge. If you would like to check out what the others have done and the recipes please go to The Daring Kitchen website!


For this confit  I had to improvise a little. I didn’t want to use that much olive oil (it’s expensive you know! At least it is in Canada… I hear when I get to Portugal I’ll be able to swim in the stuff ) only about 1 1/2 cups. I also pulled the skin off as well as the extra fat and placed it at the bottom of the dish rather than allowing it to sit on the chicken… when you have people who don’t like the skin (including myself) it’s just easier. 

Because of time restraints I didn’t cook my chicken as long as it wanted me to. Instead I cooked it for about 4 hours at 225F for 3 hours and at 300F for the last, then put it in the fridge for about 8-10 hours. The oil and fat had just started turning white and more stiff than the jelly like texture it gets beforehand. Of course I was supposed to wait until it was basically encased in the fat before cooking it in the cassoulet, but there was that time thing again.

Serves: 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) good olive oil
  • About 1 pound (500 gm) rolled shoulder ham (also called a daisy ham or Boston Butt), tough outer skin removed
  • About 3/4 pound (350 gm) hot Italian sausages, cut into 3-inch (75 mm) pieces (about 6 pieces)
  • 4 bratwurst sausages (about 1 pound/500 gm)
  • 1 cup (240 ml)diced (1/2 inch/15 mm) whole button mushrooms (about 3 ounces/85 gm)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) diced (1/2-inch/15 mm)) onion
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) crushed garlic (about 4 large cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 gm) dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (15½ ounces/440 gm each) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed under warm running water
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (about 7 oz/200 gm) diced (1-inch/25 mm) tomato (1 large plump tomato)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) (30 grams)coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • For Serving
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Dijon-style mustard 
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ham and Italian sausage.
2. Cover and cook over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
3. Add the bratwurst, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Mix well and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add the beans, tomato, water, and pepper, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and boil gently for 5 minutes.
5. At serving time, discard the bay leaf, cut the ham into slices and the sausage pieces in half, and arrange the meat on a platter with the beans.
6. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve with the Tabasco and mustard.
The recipe above is straight from The Daring Kitchen post for this month's challenge. If you would like to check out what the others have done and the recipes please go to The Daring Kitchen website!

The only changes I made with the cassoulet part of the recipe was I used the chicken from the confit instead of the ham and I couldn’t find bratwurst at the store (I had seen it the previous week I swear) so I used knackwurst instead.

This cassoulet tasted fantastic! To the point that the next time I have left over baked chicken that does the congealing thing I will absolutely try to make this the long way. I may even just cook two chickens so I can be certain I have enough!


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

For a 30 minute cassoulet this looks great. I won't be posting mine til tomorrow but I was unimpressed with it, considering how long it took to make. Maybe I should try this version!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Looks delicious! I too looked at the challenge for the first time this week and was like OMG! So I opted for a streamlined variation as well.

shelley c. said...

That looks fantastic. Glad you were able to fit it in this month! Great job.

Audax said...

I'm so glad that you found the time to do the challenge and yes cassoulet is so so tasty and delicious. Yes it well worth the effort I even found a recipe to confit whole chickens. You can use butter to confit which is what I did I'm sure that butter is cheaper than olive oil. Excellent work on this challenge.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

David and Stacy said...

It's kind of funny that the 30 minute cassoulet has a 3 or 4 hour chicken component...

We're glad we tried the multi-day version but it's good to know people have wonderful successes too with the shorter ones. We'll put the shorter version on our one-day list.

Well done on a great result!

Lisa said...

I'm so glad you were able to squeeze in the challenge and love that you loved Jacques quick cassoulet. I made it once and loved it too. Yours looks fabulous!

Creating Nirvana said...

Your cassoulet looks great! Great job on this challenge.

penny aka jeroxie said...

Nice job. I have been so slack with Daring Cooks. Need to hop back on.

Mary said...

This looks fantastic. I found your blog by chance but count it as a happy accident. You did a fabulous job with this challenge. I really like the food and recipes you feature here, I'll definitely be back. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Cookinva said...

Your cassoulet looks fantastic! I want to try the quicker version next time (3 days of cooking is a long, long time).

Rosy said...

This looks just amazing and comforting...Great job.