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Confit jelly


hansjoakim
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Hi all,

Inspired by the chapter about confits in Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie", I've prepared confits of both duck legs, lamb shoulder and pork belly a couple of times at home. Results have been great, and the confits have never had the chance to hang around in the fridge for very long before it's all eaten up.

I have a question regarding the confit jelly, the dark juices that collect on the bottom of the pan after cooking. Ruhlman & Polcyn, and also Robuchon in "The Complete Robuchon", write that care should be taken not get any of these juices into your storage jar if you want to store the confit for any length of time. Ruhlman & Polcyn write that the jelly can go sour over time.

I've consulted some other cookbooks, including Fearnley-Whittingstall's "River Cottage Meat Book" and Henderson's "Nose to tail eating", and they don't make any particular mention of the jelly and the need for removing it.

The jelly is amazing in sauces and stocks, but how important is it really to get it out of the confit storage container? And, what's the easiest way of separating the jelly from the duck fat before pouring the fat over the cooked meat?

I made some rillons this weekend, and I would like to have them around for a couple of weeks at least, to see if I can pick up "aging"/ripening qualities in the confit. I ladled fat over the cooked belly, trying not to get any of the jelly juices into the storage container, but I'm pretty sure some jelly snook it's way in there.

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Thanks for your reply, Chef Hermes!

Is it essential that the container with meat is completely jelly-free? I guess I won't be keeping the belly pieces for longer than about a month in the fridge.

Would it be an idea to remove the meat to another container and then top with clean fat, or would that make "matters worse" by lifting them out of the fat?

Thanks again!

Edited by hansjoakim (log)
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Within a month, especially at refrigerator temperatures, you should have no problems. When removing pieces from the confit, instead of "top with clean fat", just heat the entire container above 140 F and make sure there is still a fat layer covering the top completely.

The whole idea behind burying your meat in fat is that very few bacteria (other than than C. bolulinum) live on food in this oxygen-starved conditions (under fat). Jelly ups the percent liquid, but if it is truly sealed under a layer of fat (without any air bubbles allowing oxygen to pass through) it is protected by confit. And keep in mind confit was meant to preserve at room temperature for months--fridge temperature for weeks is barely a preservation challenge for cooked meat. Storage temperatures below 40 F (eg refrigerator) significantly inhibit botulism growth.

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Hi ...tm...,

Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

It's just that as I've been reading up on the technique, the wildly differing storing times (not to mention the different cooking times; Robuchon cooks his duck legs under 2 hours, while Ruhlman wants them simmered for 6 hours) have confused me. Regarding storage capabilities, some say a week (I believe that's the case with Keller in Ad-hoc at home), some say up to a year, some stress the importance of carefully removing the jelly while others again don't even mention the jelly in the first place.

I guess common sense never goes out of style, and thanks for reminding me!

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