This will be an extraordinary post almost entirely about cassoulet and not really about film stars (or my love life) as I’m reporting on my first Daring Cooks challenge.  This is a monthly challenge where all over the world food bloggers make the same recipe and all post about it on the same day.  This month’s challenge was Cassoulet and I was lucky enough to find Simone Signoret’s recipe for same.

LORD what a challenge.  I’ve already mentioned in a couple of previous posts the ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF MEAT in this recipe.  Lucky I had a carnivore in the house on Sunday to help me scoff it.  There follows a picture of the delicious confit (this was the first part of the challenge) and, at the end of the post, Simone’s recipe.  Well, her cook’s recipe!

My duck confit

The finished article

And here is Simone’s recipe which begins with the following disclaimer: “I am so glad it is not necessary for me to cook.  I never tell Marcello what to prepare, but it is always absolutely delicious.  This takes her many hours, but it is an inspired dish.”

Simone, “many hours” is a bit of an understatement but it was a STELLAR dish and in my opinion worth every minute…  I presume Marcello was her cook.  Here is Simone / Marcello’s recipe – as written…

3 cups dried white beans – soak in water overnight.  Drain.  Cover with hot water.

1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 pound Polish or garlic sausage.  Add and bring to a boil.  Simmer 30 minutes.  Remove sausage and reserve.  Simmer 1 hour longer.

1 6-10 pound goose or duck.  Roast for 2 1/2- 3 hours at 350 degrees.

1/2 pound salt pork, diced. Cover with water.  Cook for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve pork.

1 pound shoulder of lamb, cut as for stew.  Heat 4 tablespoons of fowl drippings in a skillet.  Add lamb and brown.  Pour off fat.

2 large onions, chopped.   Add to lamb.  Saute until brown.  Cover with water.

1/4 cup tomato paste, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add to the lamb.  Add salt pork.  Drain beans.  Add.  Add sausage.  Cover an simmer for 1 hour.  Rub baking dish with clove of garlic.  Place beans in dish.  Add fowl.  Cut sausage in 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange meats on top of beans.

1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 pound butter.  Sprinkle on top.  Dot top with butter.  Broil for 5 minutes, or until crumbs are brown.  Serve hot.  (This dish is especially good with a dry chilled white wine).

Serves 6 to 8.

Well chums, there you have it.  If you have the time, the patience and the requisite amount of carnivore chums to REVEL in this meat feast let me know how you got on!

Who do you think I invited to share this with me?  Charley of course.  The man who after I was a vegetarian for 12 years tempted me back into the ways of the carnivore with his enormous enjoyment of meat.  He loved the idea of having four kinds of meat in one dish...

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.

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