Vendredi Vocab: Confit
Vendredi means “Friday” in French. Each week we add something new to our culinary vocabulary by delving into a word from our menu.
This week the word is: Confit
Confit [kawn-FEE; kohn-FEE] This specialty of Gascony, France, is derived from an ancient method of preserving meat (usually goose, duck or pork) whereby it is salted and slowly cooked in its own fat. The cooked meat is then packed into a crock or pot and covered with its cooking fat, which acts as a seal and preservative. Confit can be refrigerated up to 6 months. Confit d’oie and confit de canard are preserved goose and preserved duck, respectively.
(The New Food Lover’s Companion, page 199)
Confit, which comes from the French verb confire (to prepare), is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and was used long before refrigeration was invented. The term was first used in medieval times and applied to fruits cooked and preserved in sugar. Traditional meat for confit includes both waterfowl, such as goose and duck, and pork. Duck gizzards are also commonly cooked in the confit method. Varying forms of this delicacy thrive throughout southern France.
“Confit country” is the area of Occitan France where goose fat is used to cook, as opposed to olive oil which is used in Provence where olives were plentiful and thus cheap. Confit country is divided roughly into regions where one type of meat predominates the confit preparations. 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 used in the confit process, but they are not classically considered true confits. The French refer only to duck and goose confits as true confits; other meats poached in duck or goose fat are considered en confit (“in confit”). For example, chicken cooked in goose fat is called poulet en confit. Pork is often confit and shredded to create rillettes.
Duck confit is a staple at the girl & the fig. We keep it on our menu year-round, however the set that the duck is served with changes depending on seasonal and local ingredients. Right now we are serving our duck confit with French lentils, cabbage, and pickled mustard seed. You can find the recipe for our legendary duck confit in the Plats du Jour cookbook, link here.
Vendredi means “Friday” in French. Each week we add something new to our culinary vocabulary by delving into a word from our menu. We love food, we love words, and we love to learn something new. We also love Fridays.
Happy Vendredi, everyone!