How to Make Confit

Confit is a great way to preserve food, keep it in the fridge and have it ready to eat in moments.

The process of preparing a confit involves salting the meat, slowly cooking it in fat and then covering it in fat to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

You can use just about any cut of meat for a confit. Cuts that are particularly good are the ones that lend themselves to slow cooking.

Start by curing the meat in a salt mixture to reduce the moisture in the meat and lower its water activity to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. You can add various aromatics to the cure for flavour. Follow the same process as you would for a dry cure by rubbing the meat with the cure and refrigerating for a day. When you’re ready to cook the meat drain off any cure liquor and pat dry.

You will need enough fat to cover the meat during cooking (see how to render lard). The most common choices of fat are duck fat and pork fat (lard) but anything will work as long as it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the meat. It’s worth experimenting with mixing fats such as duck and pork.

The technique used is to cook the meat slowly until it’s almost falling apart. The best way to achieve this is in a low oven (120c) with the meat completely covered in fat for several hours.

Once cooked put the meat in a sterile jar or container and completely cover in clean fat or fat that has been strained after the cooking. Make sure that any jelly that has been produced during cooking has been removed. The jelly that falls to the bottom during cooking is an incredible concentration of flavour and should be reserved to make a sauce or simply to spread on toast with some of the fat.

Jim Drohman’s Pork Belly Confit

This recipe is shamelessly stolen from “Charcuterie”, a book by Michael Rahman. It’s well worth a try with some fatty native breed belly pork.