Confit de rôti de porc
A confit is meat (duck, pork, chicken, ....) that is preserved by salting and seasoning it with herbs, then slowly cooked in its own fat, stored with its cooking juices, and sealed with its own rendered fat in a jar or can. The term comes from the French word "confire", which basically means to preserve.
Marie-José "Zézé" Fournier graciously allowed me to take notes while she prepared a confit of pork.
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Marinating time: 2 days !
- Oven time: 90 minutes
- Canning time: 2 hours
- This is a canned preserve, so it keeps very well
- 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) of lean boneless pork roast (tied with butcher's twine) - see photo below
- In France you'd buy "rôti de porc dans le filet" or "rôti dans la longe de porc sans os" or "filet de porc"
- You may also use pork tenderloin, but it is easier to use a tied roast.
- The meat will shrink quite a bit during the baking. Obviously the amount you need, depends on the number and size of canning jars you want to fill, and the number of mouths you need to feed (if you insist on sharing).
This is what high-quality pork roasts look like
(the large piece on the left is a little over 20 cm (8") long)
- Pure rendered duck fat ("graisse de canard").
- This is a mandatory ingredient for the flavor!
- You will need about 4 tablespoons per kilogram (2 lbs) of meat, and maybe some during the canning, so a small jar goes a long way.
- An unopened jar can be kept for years, much longer than a plastic tub.
- This tasty stuff is also great for home-frying potatoes and eggs!
- Thyme (fresh sprigs and dried)
- 20 whole garlic cloves, freshly peeled
- 20 bay leaves
- 4-spice (F: quatre épices):
- "Four spice" is a tropical bush (Myrtaceae family), with leaves and fruits that taste like a mix of (white) pepper, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. It is also the name of a mix of these spices. There is no standard mix, and "four spice" blends may actually contain as many as seven spices.
- The store-bought "four spice" mix that I used consists of ground cinnamon (44%), ground ginger (24%), ground cloves, and ground nutmeg.
- You can try a mix of 2 teaspoons ground cloves, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon freshly ground peppercorns, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. 1 teaspoon ginger powder.
- "Four spice" is not to be confused with Chinese "five spice" mix (ground star anise, fennel seeds, cassia or cinnamon, cloves, Szechwan peppers).
EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
- Sharp paring knife
- Airtight containers, for marinating the meat
- Baking dishes with lid
- Large canning jars with new lids or rubber rings (depending on the system you use)
- Important: always use a clean new rubber! :-)
- Large pot for sterilizing the jars and lids (you must be able to fully submerge the jars).
PREPARATION / DIRECTIONS
- Spike the meat with garlic cloves:
- With a sharp kitchen knife, make deep holes into the meat (left & right, along the top of the meat, spaced about 4-5 cm (≈2"))
- A 1 kg (≈ 2 lbs) roast will take at least 8 holes.
- Fully insert a entire peeled garlic clove into each pocket.
- Season all sides of the meat:
- This is best done after putting the meat into the container(s) in which it will be marinating.
- Rub all sides of the meat with 4-spice mix (don't be stingy!)
- Lightly salt all sides of the meat.
- Sprinkle freshly ground pepper on all sides of the meat, and pat in (e.g., by rolling the meat in the container).
- Sprinkle dried thyme on all sides of the meat and pat in
- Stick a bay leaf under each loop of the string
- Put pieces of fresh thyme sprig on top of the meat (under the string) and along the meat.
- Put the meat in air tight containers and refrigerate for 48 hours
- Turn the meat several times during this period, to make sure that the flavors permeate the meat
The meat prepared wit herbs, spices - ready to marinade for 48 hours
- Pre-heat the oven to 185 ºC (365 ºF)
- Transfer the meat to the oven dish(es), together with any herbs & spices that are left behind in the container.
- Put tablespoon-size dabs of duck fat on top of the meat.
- A 1 kg (≈ 2 lbs) piece of meat takes about 4 dabs of duck fat
- Put the lid on the dishes and put them in the oven
- Bake until the meat is done
- Baking time depends on the size/weight of the meat. If the largest piece is about 1 kg (≈ 2 lbs), expect baking to take up to 1.5 hours).
- When the meat is done, it should look like in the photo below.
- Remove the dishes from the oven and let the meat cool off.
- Do not discard the juices!
The marinated roast after baking in the oven
Keep the juices from the baking - they must go into the canning jars
- Sterilize the canning jars and the lids in a large pot of boiling water for about an hour. Make sure the jars are always fully submerged.
- Add water, if necessary
- Remove the jars and lids from the pot without touching the rims and the inside of the jars and lids.
- Transfer the meat to the jars and pour the juices (with the herbs and bay leaves) on top of the meat
- If the there is not enough juice to almost cover at least 3/4 of the meat, melt some duck fat and add to the jar(s).
- The meat does not have to be fully immersed in juices and duck fat.
- Put the lids on the jars and tighten.
- Return the jars to the pot of water and turn the heat back on.
- Make sure the jars are fully submerged. You may need to but weights on them (e.g., stones), to keep them from rising and floating
- Counting from the moment that the water begins to boil, continue cooking the meat for 2 hours.
- Turn off the heat and let the jars cool off in the water.
- Check that the lids of the jars have "popped" in.
SERVING & GARNISH SUGGESTIONS
- Serve warm, or cold (in summer).
- The same basic recipe can be made with other meats (chicken, duck, ...)
- Keeps for months without refrigeration.
©2007-2016 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.