Thursday, December 17, 2009


Confit is a generic term for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a speciality of southwestern France.

The word comes from the French verb confire (to preserve), which in turn comes from the Latin word (conficere), meaning "to do, to produce, to make, to prepare." The French verb was first applied in medieval times to fruits cooked and preserved in sugar.

Confit of goose (confit d'oie) and duck (confit de canard) are usually prepared from the legs of the bird. The meat is salted and seasoned with herbs, and slowly cooked submerged in its own rendered fat, in which it is then preserved by allowing it to cool and storing it in the fat. Turkey and pork may be treated similarly. Meat confits are a specialty of the southwest of France (Toulouse, Dordogne, etc.) and are used in dishes such as cassoulet. Although confits are now considered luxurious, these preparations originated as a means of preserving meats without refrigeration.

Goose confit is associated with the Béarn and Basque regions with their classic specialties of cassoulet and garbure, hearty and earthy dishes of confit and beans. Saintonge and Brantôme feature duck confit, often with potatoes and truffles. Non-waterfowl meats are frequently treated to the confit process, but are not classically considered true confits. The French refer to ‘true’ confits as “duck confit” (confit de canard) or “goose confit” (confit de oie); other meats poached in duck or goose fats are considered “en confit.” For example, chicken cooked in goose fat is called poulet en confit.

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