If you’ve ever been to a nice restaurant you’ve likely seen confit on the menu. I’ve always enjoyed the succulent meat cooked by this technique. However, it’s not just a means for cooking, but also for preservation. Long before refrigeration, the French slow cooked and stored meat in fat for months at a time. You need to make large batches of this, because it’s so yummy you’ll likely eat it all well before it would go bad.
This can be made with any type of meat. I used chicken because it’s so common – most of us can get access to it. This is a great thing to do if you’ve got a sale on chicken legs – buy a bunch and confit it.
Start by seasoning the meat. For about 4 legs, you’ll need about a tablespoon of kosher salt spread all over. The other spices are optional and really up to your taste. Use any combination of bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and fresh, crushed garlic. Make sure to put this in a non-reactive pan, cover, and refrigerate over night.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to about 200 ºF (my oven runs low, so I heated it to 225-250 ºF). Rinse off the seasoning and put in an oven-safe pan. I used a small stock pot because I didn’t want the juices to overflow. You can also put a larger page under your pan to catch any overflow.
Cover the meat in fat. If you’re using something fatty, like duck or pork, you can use rendered fat from other parts of the animal. For chicken, you can use rendered fat from these other sources (e.g., bacon fat) or you can simply cover in olive oil.
Start the meat cooking over a medium flame on the stove. When the oil starts to gently bubble, place the whole pot, uncovered into the oven. Cook for 6-10 hours until the meat easily pulls from the bone.
Cool and then place in the refrigerator. To preserve, make certain that the meat is fully covered by the fat. Store in the fridge for months.
When ready to use, pull out from the fat and reheat in a pan, skin side down for a few minutes. Because of the richness of this meat, it is best served with light food, such as an acidic salad or sauce.