I confit on a low heat so it barely simmers
I use the best oil I can get and mix oils and fats.
Seasoning, herbs and alliums, roots can be added.
Water can be used with more seasoning instead.
It's like a water bath on min heat. Aim for 70 dec Celcius
Cooked for a few hours will turn all connective tissue to jelly and keep a lean meat moist.
I've only ever done it in a commercial kitchen as I don't have the fat at home.
I pretty much always used thyme and juniper berries, but you can use anything.
I've only used pork fat, duck fat and olive oil.
Things that can be dry, like wild duck, guinea fowl and hare and turkey legs make delicious confit.
Why stop at lean meats? Rillettes is a traditional French dish where pork belly is confit in pork fat, then shredded into a kind of fat/meat pate.
Sounds a bit disgusting really, but it's insanely tasty.
Wood pigeon are small but if they're confitted, (I'm sure that's not an English verb.) two will give enough taste when added to staples to feed 6 people. Gizzards are difficult to cook properly to make them attractive but confit, they're a delicacy which can be added to almost anything to make a luxury. In restaurants in France, a salad with gizzards added is one of the most expensive starters on a menu ! Here are wood pigeons and gizzards just out of the boiler ready to store.
Irene Kightley wrote:Wood pigeon...Gizzards are difficult to cook properly to make them attractive but confit, they're a delicacy which can be added to almost anything
Irene, is there a 'bag' on your wood pigeons?
Our native pigeon (kereru) is getting quite rare-
it has a reputation for being pretty, slow, friendly and drunk.
Those adjectives will often get you in trouble
I've always been fascinated by the gizzards'...muscularity...and as a kid tried to come up with ways to make it edible.
Yes, I was a bit of a savage!
With gizzards, do you halve them 'hemispherically', cut out the grinding part and confit?
When you say a "bag" on the wood pigeons, do you mean a maximum number that a hunter is allowed to shoot ? In the migration period (Which is short) there's no limit and outside that period it's six per day. They are fairly common here.
Now it's more of a cooking method and rancid is not part of the aesthetic, thankfully.
Confit duck is traditional and the best, in my opinion. You can do it in a slow cooker.
Save the duck fat for fried potatoes!
Yes, exactly. I haven't a clue why I went all colloquial
Irene Kightley wrote:When you say a "bag" on the wood pigeons, do you mean a maximum number that a hunter is allowed to shoot ?
Sorry, I forgot to explain my 'bag' terminology! But: you can buy gizzards?!
Tim Wells wrote:sometimes gizzards are plastic bagged from a shop
I think 'back in the day' in France, animals were confit in Autumn at the peak of condition (read: fat),
K Nelfson wrote:My understanding is that confit was originally a way to keep meat for longer. The fat must cover the meat to make this method work... I've not found much information about how long the meat would keep
submerged in fat,
and stored through cold European winters.
I've only had confit stored in modern refridgeration but I think if the fat was fresh and the confit stored at a low temperature, it'd last for many months.
I've not tried this myself yet, but I've heard that confit rabbit can be excellent - when I finally get out hunting again I'll try it (toddler care and full time job gets in the way a bit!).
The cooked meat is submerged in fat and even without sterisation (canning) should keep for up to six months in a cool place - which ties in very well with the seasons.
We sterilise the jars because you may as well cook a lot of things once you have a large cauldron of fat simmering next to a fire and I like to have a good stock of ready food - this is our equivalent of fast food.
Once sterlised, (Canned) the confit (And small jars of leftover fat for cooking) keep for several years in a cool, dark place.
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