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History of Confit?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have been reading everything I can about confit. On the net or in books.

Can someone lead me in the right direction where I can learn about the history or origins of confit? This is the information I am after and I have yet to find.

Thanks.

"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
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"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
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post #2 of 9
It's been a while since I read it, but Sue Shepard's Pickled, Potted, & Canned is a fascinating history of food preserving.

Another possibility is D'Artagnan's Glorious Game Cookbook. Lots of info there about food of Gascony. Also Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France. Even if they don't have what you're looking for, they're interesting books with terrific recipes.

(Full discolsure: I tested recipes for, and later copyedited, the Wolfert book.)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 9
Origins are complex especially when a term like "confit" which only means "preserved" is at the heart of the question.

The method of salting and perserving meat in fat is a common tradtitional method in Germany and Scandinavia. I can't give you dates.

There's a sort of Spanish preserved pork, lomo de la orza, which dates back at least to the middle ages, maybe longer. Whether this came to Spain from France with Charlemagne, from France later, or arrived (much) earlier with the Visigoths is your guess. One thing of which we can be sure, preserved pork didn't come with the Moors. You've also got to think it wasn't the Visigoths either -- since they were essentially Romans (Russel Crowe's character in Gladiator), and if it was Romans YOU'D KNOW. They didn't exactly hide their light under a bushel.

French fruit confiture, dates back at least to the middle ages. I've done some searching but can't find anything specific on duck or goose confiture. You can make some reasonable guesses on your own if you consider that confit is basically flavored with onions, salt and fat -- and doesn't contain any of the exotic spices we associate with opening trade routes to the east during the late middle ages and Renaissance. So, I'd put it pre-Renaissance.

I'm pretty sure Pierre de la Varenne included a recipe for a cassoulet including confit of goose in his book Le Cuisinier Francois, published in the mid 17th Century. But pretty sure isn't fo' sho'. I might be confused in that he was certainly the man when it came to fruit confiture.

BDL
post #4 of 9

A new restaurant in my Capitol Hill neighborhood has chicken wings confit on the menu. This was a new concept for me so I am making a massive amount of confit wings right now.  I have already had wings in  garlic,herb, seasoning mix for 24 hours and am now cooking the wings in olive for at  160 degrees for about 2 hours.  BUT WAIT!!  Another recipe says to cook at 200 degrees for 12-14 hours.  HOW CAN THIS  TECHNIQUE BE SO RADICALLY DIFFERENT?  Somehow 12-14 hours seems excessive.  And I have no idea if 2 hours is enough.  But the 2-hour recipe also says to then put some wings uncovered on a cookie sheet in  refrigerator for 24 hours. I do this with brined turkey and sometimes duck to help get the skin crispy. Any experience, wisdom, thoughts on the confit process with chicken wings?  The taste of the restaurant confit wings was exceptional.  Worth the work, if I can duplicate it.    

post #5 of 9

Maybe 13th century ...Found a little story.....

 
For the confit of it !
 

 

http://houndsinthekitchen.com/2011/12/06/sweetheart-sweet-heart-charcutepalooza/

 

 

 

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #6 of 9

Those wings sound like their gonna be spongy and greasy... let me know how they turn out... im interested.. especially since duck confit wings sound a bit overboard and unpractical..

post #7 of 9

Years ago I heard homemade fruit preserves, jellies and jams refered to a confit.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 9
Years ago I heard homemade fruit preserves, jellies and jams refered to a confit.

 

No, Ed.  Those are "confiture," not "confit." 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/3/12 at 7:15am
post #9 of 9

According to the "dictionnaire de l'academie Francaise", the word "confit" dates from the 13th century. It refers to meat cooked in its own grease, and preserved in that same grease, in a closed jar. Examples given are goose, duck and pork confit. The word comes from "confire", the verb, which dates from the 12th century. 

 

"confiture" is a word derived from the word "confit". While you can make "fruits confits" (preserved fruits), a "confiture de fruits" (fruit preserve) is something that is a little less sweet and softer, meant to be spread on top of bread and butter, or mixed with yogurt for example. Fruits confits are meant to be eaten by themselves as a sweet treat, are firm and are really really sweet. 

 

Hope that helps a bit. 

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