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What is the Confit Method?

Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova
Duck confit

Nowadays, there are many ways to can food, that will preserve it long after it has been prepared. Today's culinary achievements in this regard are the result of many experiments that began in ancient times.

Over the centuries, people have tried to preserve the food they have prepared for a long time through various types of processing. One way to preserve cooked food for a long time is to confit, or even process with the confit method.

Confit method - an old method of preserving meat

Confit
Image: Yordanka Kovacheva

The origin of this type of culinary treatment is a French contribution. It dates back to the Middle Ages, when fruit were stored with sugar, hence where the words jam and confet originate from.

The confit method is beginning to be used for canning various types of meat and is especially popular in the south-west of France. There, people kept the meat for a long time, covering it with a layer of fat, which prevents the access of air, which would spoil the meat.

What made confitting meat necessary?

In the 19th century, a lot of corn had began to be grown in the Bayonne region of France. This makes it possible to fatten birds, especially geese and various goose liver specialties become a culinary temptation for the French. Due to the lack of refrigeration appliances, a way of canning was invented. This meant keeping the cooked product in its own sauce. It turned out to be very successful and the specialty duck confit dates back to that time.

How to confit different types of meat?

Confit method

Confiting is essentially slow cooking of meat at a low temperature, below 100°C. Poultry and meat are cooked, as long as they have fat. Cooking is slow, in its own fat and then the meat is stored in it. The confit technique is effective, because the fat creates a thick layer around the meat and prevents bacteria from entering and spoiling it.

Apart from being a term for meat preservation, confit is also a heat treatment process that must be strictly adhered to. Cooking is slow, long, on low heat in its own sauce from the fat and the temperature must be kept constant. The meat is not fried, but cooked slowly and so all the flavors and useful ingredients of the food product are preserved.

Once the meat is cooked, in order to be stored, the fat should be poured into a deep container, left to cool, until it sets, then the cooked duck legs or other meat are arranged and are pour again with the remaining fat, until they are covered. The container is then tightly covered and stored in a cool place for a long time.

This way, pork, mutton, goose meat or other animal products with fat can be cooked and preserved.

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