Confit is another treasure from Southwestern France. The geese and ducks that supply us with foie gras are also responsible for another culinary delight: confits. After the liver is removed, the goose or duck meat is lifted from the carcass (it is then called "le paletot" or vest), and quartered. This is why confits are sometimes called "quartiers". The leg quarters include leg and thigh, the wing quarters are composed of wing and breast.
How confit is made. The pieces of meat are rubbed with a mixture of salt and spices and placed in an earthenware pot , covered with salt for 24 hours. The meat is removed from the pot and the salt brushed off. Goose or duck fat is melted in a big pot and the pieces of meat are added and left to simmer in the fat for an hour and a half. The quarters are drained and placed in the earthenware jar; hot fat is strained over them so they are completely covered. As it cools down, the fat congeals and the confits can be saved several months, sous la graisse. In fact, this is how they were preserved before the day of refrigeration: the fat covering the confit makes an effective barrier against the air. The result is quite amazing: the meat is mellow, tender and very flavorful! In fact, most Americans who taste confit for the first time can hardly believe they are eating goose or duck.
Serving confit. Confit is already fully cooked and just needs to be warmed up if desired (it is also very good cold with a green salad). First, srape off and save all excess fat that clings to the meat. If you purchased canned confit from France, you may place the open can in a double-boiler and melt the fat: it will be easier to remove the meat from the can. Drain the duck or goose pieces well. Grill for 5-10 minutes under the broiler (skin up) or in a frying pan on low heat (skin down). Serve with Potatoes sarladaises. Make a risotto that is packed with flavor by incorporating shredded confit meat, rehydrated cèpes mushrooms and green peas. Goose or duck confit is also a key ingredient of Cassoulet.
Using goose and duck fat. Goose or duck fat is often used in Périgord recipes in lieu of oil or butter; brown green vegetables in goose fat for a unique flavor. Another little-known trick with goose fat: when roasting a chicken, rub the skin with goose fat (instead of using oil or butter) and baste regularly: the chicken skin will be golden and very crispy, and the fat will impart a nice deep flavor to an otherwise bland American chicken. Goose and duck fat will save many months in the fridge, as long as all meat particles have been removed: melt the fat in a saucepan and filter through a sieve into a clean glass jar.