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What is confit ?

Mostly used in meat, the method of preserving food using salt and slow cooking is called confit. Confit can also be a condiment of vegetables and fruit cooked to the consistency of jam. In addition to meats, confit also refers to other foods, including lemons and garlic, cooked and preserved in lard or oil in a similar method.

In Gascony, France, confit is one of the most popular specialties with the meat cooked into a crock or earthen pot with the cooking fat covering it. The fat, which preserves and seals the meat, is taken out before the confit is served. After preserving the confit, the shelf life increases up to six months if properly stored, sealed and kept refrigirated. Before, peasants used the process of confit to preserve their meat making it more resistant to bacteria, which gives longer shelf life without the use of refrigiration.

Meats, most often goose, pork or duck, preserved in this process are now considered a delicacy. Confit de canard is preserved duck and confit d’oie is preserved goose. Confit meat dishes are delicate and moist. Due to the salty taste produced in the process of confit, it is best serve with something sour or sweet. Often, confit meat is eaten as is, accompanied by potatoes, beans, salad, or other sides. In France, the meat preferred for cassoulets and stews is confit meat. Alternatively, the other dishes can also use confit meat, like for flavoring risotto, tuna and salmon meat.

There is a different method in preparing fruit confits with sugar like jam. Small fruits like cherries are confit in honey or sugar for preservation. Larger fruits like pears, apples, melons or peaches can also undergo the same process for confit. Due to the time consumed by this process of food preservation, confits are sold a little expensive.

Yet there are acidic confits, for instance a tomato confit cooked with vinegar as well as onion confit, which is prepared with balsamic vinegar and sugar and a good condiment for chicken and steak. The ideal dish for onion confits are pasta, mash potatoes and curry.

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