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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Confit a term which comes from the French verb confire, ‘preserve’, and may refer to fruits or vegetables cooked for long keeping with sugar or vinegar, but usually is taken to describe meat, typically goose or duck, salted for a day, cooked at a low temperature in its own fat, covered in its own fat (plus some lard if necessary), and then preserved in a pot.

Pork can also be treated in this way, indeed was probably the first meat to be so cooked (see lard; rillette). But goose confit is the most famous and McGee (2004) notes it probably started around the town of Bayonne in the 18th century when the adoption of maize for force-feeding the birds provoked the production of the necessary fat on the carcass. Duck confit is found more often in the north of Aquitaine, around Brantôme and Saintes. When other meats are preserved in lard (or possibly goose or duck fat), they are then called en confit.