Confit, or not confit? That is the question … but also, what is confit, anyway?
Confit refers to the process of slow cooking and storing food in fat, and comes from a French word that means “preserved.”
In the confit method, meats are cooked in fat (best choice is duck fat) for a long time at low temperatures (200 degrees F or below). This renders tough cuts like duck legs more tender, and when stored in duck fat in a cool place, they last all winter. The meat that has been through this cooking process is also called confit, as in duck leg confit or confit of goose. A commonplace technique in the days before refrigeration, confit is still a favorite in Southwest France.
Cooking meats confit-style is super easy, and though it takes a little time, most of that is allowing the fat to do the work.
What meats can you confit? Duck, chicken, turkey, and goose are all good options, and so is rabbit. Legs and wings in particular do well in a pot of duck fat. Also lean rabbit legs are a perfect choice for this process.
Good to Know
Confit is forever…. or nearly that. Cooked confit can be vacuum-sealed and frozen for up to 1 year.
Rabbit confit works in many dishes. Try rabbit confit shredded over a salad, tossed in pasta, or tucked in a sandwich. Bread and fry rabbit leg confit for a variation on fried chicken.
Most people assume that the confit meats contain a lot of fat because they are cooked in fat, but that is not the case. The fat does not fully penetrate into the meat, though it does leave a glossy layer on the outside.
More Foods To Confit
Duck fat is one of the few fats that can be reused again and again without degrading. Just strain the fat using a coffee filter set in a fine mesh sieve, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you’re making one of our recipes for duck or rabbit confit, throw some little potatoes in the fat before you strain it. These fingerlings slow-cooked in aromatic duck fat make a rich side dish or a sneaky snack for the chef! Try our Confit Fingerling Potatoes recipe.
D’Artagnan founder Ariane Daguin shared her super simple recipe for garlic confit, an ingredient that she says is always in her refrigerator, preserved in duck fat. The process is a lot quicker than cooking meat this way, and it mellows the pungent kick of the garlic cloves. Try making Garlic Confit and use the soft cloves in recipes of all kinds. We are happy to just smash and spread the soft garlic confit on a chunk of baguette.
Have you fallen in love with confit? Yeah, we understand. Our next Valentine’s Day card may well say “You confit me.”