Blog: Cassoulet Cookoff at Jimmy's No. 43
The rich, slow cooked collaboration of white beans, sausage, and duck called a cassoulet is a long celebrated dish which originated in the south of France. With a multitude of possible ingredients and creativity to boot, the hearty, wintry dish is one that lends itself to the license of its respective chef. To commemorate â€˜Cassoulet Daysâ€™ in the early days of January, East Village bar/restaurant Jimmyâ€™s No. 43 opened its spacious back area to the likes of amateur chefs for the â€œFifth Annual Cassoulet Cookoff,â€ a competitive cooking competition of all things beans.
The two hour session began promptly at 1pm, with guests set to enjoy an all you can taste two hour afternoon session as well as an included beer of choice inside of the charming dimly lit haunt. Attendees almost entirely filled the table space of the placeâ€™s main area as well as a cluster of patrons vying for space in the separate event room in back. The smells of piping hot homemade cassoulet filled the surrounding air inside as we quickly grabbed our plates and headed for the makeshift sampling stations in back. Each guest was also handed a dry white bean which was to be dropped into a glass in front of the chef who had created the finest dish of the entire Cookoff, a peopleâ€™s choice winner of sorts, a fun little way for guests to remain active in the proceedings.
Master of The Takedowns Matt Timms was in the house and in signature Timms fashion amped the crowd up for the final tallying of votes. Our outlet made the rounds to each of the distinctive tastings- from outeastfoodie.comâ€™s Laura Lucianoâ€™s first place winning duck confit mixture to Matthew Knoffâ€™s ‘Matt Cassoulet ala Julia,’ creatively called concocted with white beans, sausage, and lamb shoulder, the different batches each offered something different from the previous taste. Our favorite included the warm, thick helping courtesy of Rich Pinto Catering, which interestingly enough was a vegetarian sampling, but each station was delectable in its own way with mixtures of confit, pork sausage, beef, and even duck and chorizo along the path of different chef creations.
With the holidays now behind us, thereâ€™s hardly a weekend that goes by where Jimmyâ€™s No. 43 is not involved in hosting, sponsoring, or participating in a food event, all of which tend to benefit a charitable cause. While the “Cassoulet Cookoff” was a massive success on its own, the event served as a benefit to the Grow NYC Greenmarket program. Other outstanding upcoming events include a plethora of $10 Tuesday Tastings, a â€œBacon & Belgiansâ€ tasting event on 1/19, and Jimmyâ€™s â€œ2nd Annual Gumbo Cook-Offâ€ on 2/10, sure to rival the fun had by all at Sundayâ€™s “Cassoulet Cookoff.” Itâ€™s been said before that beans are good for your heart, but at Jimmyâ€™s No. 43, theyâ€™re also good for satiating that hungry appetite.
- Jane Van Arsdale