Confit duck, confit tomato, confit lemon, confit salmon … these are all examples we might find plastered over modern menus. But what exactly is confit?
GemLife Chef Matt Conquest clears up confit confusion and explains how this time-honoured tradition of preserving food can be used in your home kitchen.
Matt’s confit 101
The word ‘confit’ comes from the French verb ‘confire’ which literally means ‘to preserve’. But the word confit developed a more precise meaning in peasant times when meats (particularly duck and goose) were salted then slowly cooked in their own rendered fat, then stored in this fat. This allowed meats to be stored for many months, especially useful in winter. The modern-day definition is to slowly cook food in its own fat or, in the case of non-meat foods, olive oil.
The undeniable world champion of the confit title is duck confit. This dish is quite simple to prepare and well within the reach of the home chef.
4 duck Marylands
1 sprig thyme
1 lemon, zest in strips
1 orange, zest in strips
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 star anise, roughly crushed
75g sea salt
500ml duck or goose fat,
available at any good deli
- Mix thyme, lemon, orange, garlic, star anise and salt.
- Sprinkle mixture evenly over duck legs, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Brush off salt mix and slowly cook in the fat in a pre-heated oven of 150 degrees for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat pulls away from the bone.
Allow to cool.
- Store it in the cooled fat in the fridge until needed.
- When ready to serve, heat the duck in the oil until oil is liquid.
- Take out duck and drain.
- Place on oven tray and in a hot oven, cook until skin is nice and crisp.