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Hey Nicko,
You are right in your assessment of confit,
Many years ago hunters would skin there catch and tie it to four trees -post any thing that they could strech the hide out on. the meat was then broken down with fat intack. a fire was started under the hide,meat and fat ect were added with a little water(if they had it handy)the fire below slowly melting the fat and cooking the meat.this took along time. but eventually when it was cooked and all fat was melted it created a hermedic seal,thus preserving the meat. curing and spicing came later as salt and spice where traded like we trade stockes today. as the middle eastern spice ships made there way through france salt and certain spices became slowly more availible.and along came curing (salting and spicing for a # of hours or days to enhance preserving and flaver).In todays kitchens a fine confit of duck or goose,ect is still one of a chefs crowning acheivments.but in many kitchens the term in misused...confit of cornmeal? I don't think so. However A shallot or say garlic slowly cooked in fat with fresh herbs and then spooned on a rack of lamb (minus the fat ofcourse)with a nice pan jus can be called witout to much concern a confit. But in the true and classic definition Nicko is correct. Boy I wish there was spell cheak on here!!!
 
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