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Confit (NOT Duck)

Duck confit. Duck confit. Duck confit.

Why is it always duck?

Using similar techniques, could you confit chicken? Beef? Pork?

Why would (or wouldn't) you want to?

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  1. If you do pork it's basically carnitas.
    A friend made turkey confit this summer. I was dubious, but it was dElicious.
    Isn't confit basically what you do to meat before you make rillettes? Which is commonly made with duck, pork, squab, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rabaja

      So then, why is duck confit such a be-all, end-all?

      1. re: dancole42

        much easier and more manageable portions. a duck leg is a pretty easy serving size and is more manageable to confit, especially at home compared to say a pork shoulder. Plus duck has more flavor and fat that chicken so it tastes better.

    2. Confit means to slow cook in it's own fat. Duck has alot of fat. Beef tallow will work, but chicken doesn't have a whole lot of fat, so getting enough schmultz to properly confit chicken would take alot.

      Pork, as stated above, is carnitas.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jameshig

        I do chicken regularly. I do it sous vide because it requires less fat. It's one of my favorite ways to use legs along with extra fat I remove from the carcass before making stock or demiglace. You can also add a little bit of lard (like a tablespoon or two) just to get the leg well encased in fat to start with.

      2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confit
        Duck is not the only Confit many are not even meat.

        1. «Why is it always duck?»

          It's not. Other fowl (quail, goose, chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, gizzards, etc.), rabbit, pork, and so on are often given the confit treatment. I've even read about camel confit (though it goes under another name).

          Duck and goose are traditional because of foie gras production. After the livers were removed, the farmer was left with a lot of meat and a lot of fat. Dry-brining the meat, poaching it in fat, packing it in crocks and covering it with fat allowed it to be stored at root/wine-cellar temperature for many months, a real boon in the pre-refrigeration era. That the meat's texture and flavour improved as it aged was an added bonus.

          The technique is more successful with legs, wings, necks and gizzards than with breasts, so farmers and chefs eventually found other uses for them (grilled, seared or roasted, preferably medium rare; cured and air-dried like prosciutto; smoked; etc.).

          1 Reply
          1. re: carswell

            This is really my answer already, so I'll just second it heartily.

          2. I've been thinking about this too. . .

            I'm thinking about lamb shank kind of like this recipe from paula wolfert but different brine/salt flavors.

            http://books.google.com/books?id=kd31...

            Can't figure out temperatures. . . seem to vary all over the place. one recipe i have says go at 200 degrees or 180 (whatever is lowest on your oven), wolfert says 300 (seems reasonable), another says 375 which sounds high.

            3 Replies
            1. re: j8715

              Usually Confit is done with the fat just hot enough to barley bubble. In my experience 190F to 210F yields the best results. Also I find that with certain proteins that a nice dark sear first really helps with flavor and keeping the piece together.

              1. re: chefj

                so if i go with a temp this low. . . is a crock pot an acceptable method? How long does it take at this temp? 6 hours?

                1. re: j8715

                  I have never used a crockpot, so cooking with them is not anything I know about.
                  Time would depend on the age of the animal and how they are cut.
                  The ones that I get from N.Z. are rather small just under a pound and very young and tender.
                  I would start to check them after about 3 hours or so. I imagine that they would take 4 +

            2. I just ate chicken confit (as part of an "Amish chicken two ways" dish) at one of my favorite restaurants, so yes, it works just as well for chicken as it does confit.

              And I'm positive cooking any meat slowly in its own fat (or a fat of some kind, without frying it), would turn out delicious. Heh heh.

              1. I made turkey leg confit a couple of years ago using a recipe from the Nov/Dec '05 Chow magazine. I had planned on serving it alongside the regular turkey at Thanksgiving but chickened out. Wish I'd served it as I ended up eating all of the confit myself over the course of about a month -it was fabulous! I used duck fat and even that was wonderful spread like butter on French bread. Definitely not considered health food but I do remember shredding and eating over salad greens a few times with a sqeeze of lemon...