Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Confit de Porc


A Patric
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

Here's a question, is there any culture that has used extra virgin olive oil to confit meat rather than it's own fat/lard, etc? Perhaps this has been done somewhere in one of the cuisines of the Mediterranean?

I love the flavor of evoo, probably more than most animal fats, and I'm wondering if throwing some lean pork in a big pot of seasoned olive oil (pepper, garlic, various herbs, etc) and slowly cooking it at a low temp would result in something as delicious as the normal confit de porc?

Aside from it being a bit cost-prohibitive due to the price of good evoo, is there any good reason not to try this?

Have any of you tried it before?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aside from it being a bit cost-prohibitive due to the price of good evoo, is there any good reason not to try this?

Well, since you'd be cooking all of those wonderful flavors that you buy good evoo for right out of it by the time you're done, I'd say that's a good reason not to do it, just for starters.

Oh, it wouldn't be dangerous or make you sick or anything, but the technique of confit - to preserve an animal in its own fat - arose conveniently because animal fats like lard and duck fat are solid at room temperature, so the fat forms a seal over the meat you are preserving, and it can be left on the counter or shelf for months on end at that point. Olive oil, on the other hand, is not solid at room temperature, but if you started a confit with it and some fairly fatty meat, the meat would render fat into the olive oil, leaving you with an overall mixture of fats that may or may not be solid at room temperature, depending on the balance of lard to olive oil. But that's not really a problem, since you could just keep the confit in the refrigerator where it will solidify easily.

But, by the time you've rendered all of that fat, the olive oil you started with will basically taste like pork fat, with very few reminders of the original substance. So what would be the point, especially when you can buy lard or other vegetable oils much cheaper and get basically the same result?

I make confit a lot, but with duck, and pretty much any fat that I start with ends up being duck fat by the time I'm done, or at least it would appear so to the untrained eye. If anyone else has had different results, I'd be interested in hearing about them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So is it the final concensus then that:

1) This technique has never been done anywhere traditionally

2) It wouldn't be any good in terms of flavor

I also wonder if the flavor components of the evoo would truly be destroyed that quickly (3-5 hours) at 180 F?

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So is it the final concensus then that:

1) This technique has never been done anywhere traditionally

2) It wouldn't be any good in terms of flavor

I also wonder if the flavor components of the evoo would truly be destroyed that quickly (3-5 hours) at 180 F? 

Thanks

1. The tradition of confit is that meats are cooked in their own fat, so, no, olive oil is not traditional anywhere. One practical limitation of using olive oil traditionally is there point made before, namely that olive oil is not solid at room temperature. Traditionally, confit pots would be buried about 2/3 of the way into the ground for the winter (which is why the glaze is only present on the upper 1/3). Since confit pots don't have a lid, the fat is relied upon to prevent air from entering the confit (thus preventing spoilage). In fact, some duck confit recipes call for a layer of freshly rendered pork fat to be poured over the very top, as pork fat is even less air-permeable than duck or goose fat.

2. My biggest concern about flavor would be a persistent olive flavor, which might not be bad in a duck confit, but I would find less desirable with pork. Whether the oil is "destroyed" or not, the flavor of the olive oil would probably dominate.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me it just sounds like a clash of worlds and I think the pork will win and the olive oil will be vanquished. But heck, give it a try. Do a small batch with some inexpensive supermarket olive oil and let us know how it turns out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a recipe in Paula Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Kitchen for pork coddled in olive oil which is basically what you are talking about. I recently made it and it was great. There has also been a lot of discussion of this particular dish on the thread devoted to this cookbook. I doubt that olive oil is as good a preservative as goose fat or lard, but regardless of that it's a great dish. The pork you start with is lean and it gets cooked at a low temperature, so there is little pork fat rendered into the final dish. You eat the pork and save the olive oil for another use, so it's not a waste of expensive oil. Perhaps other people who have made the dish could chime in...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a recipe in Paula Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Kitchen for pork coddled in olive oil which is basically what you are talking about. I recently made it and it was great. There has also been a lot of discussion of this particular dish on the thread devoted to this cookbook. I doubt that olive oil is as good a preservative as goose fat or lard, but regardless of that it's a great dish. The pork you start with is lean and it gets cooked at a low temperature, so there is little pork fat rendered into the final dish. You eat the pork and save the olive oil for another use, so it's not a waste of expensive oil. Perhaps other people who have made the dish could chime in...

Thanks for this. I'll have to look into it. Certainly it would be nice for others familiar with this dish to chime in.

UPDATE: I looked through that thread. It is really great, and there are a number of photos of this dish. It's exactly what I was asking about.

Edited by A Patric (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The confit process has two goals--slow cooking with efficient heat transfer and the isolation of the meat from contact with air. I've switched to using vacuum bags a la sous vide for my confit, so the countertop preservation benefit isn't as interesting as the oil/meat contact.

I seal solid duck fat into the bags of cured duck and then cook it at 180 F for 12 hours. An interesting experiment (one that I'll endeavor to do soon) would be to freeze another oil (probably unfrefined peanut oil) and use that as a substitute for/in addition to duck fat in the bag.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind, also, that a really good confit is one that involves aging. (I have some duck that is almost a year old...)

Olive oil -- IF it were to solidify -- would probably be rancid after any decent aging process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rancidity is about oxidation.

I have lots of bottels of EVOO and EVOO Nuevo in my wine cellar originally bottled in '00 and '01--none are rancid. I would expect (though I'm willing to submit to the forge of experimentation/experience) that properly protected olive oil would not go rancid during the time frame that most are considering.

Again, the solid fat role in conservation is in protecting against oxidation--a properly sealed vacuum pouch will offer the same protection as a layer of duck fat...without the romance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great conversation! I looked in Paula's book (p 164), and it says that this dish came from Arrezo during a time when there was famine and hogs had to be slaughtered because there was nothing to feed them.

Apparently the farmers figured that the pork could be salted and then cooked with olive oil and then preserved under olive oil. Wolfert notes that this is also basically how fresh tuna is preserved in Sicily.

So, despite the fact that olive oil may oxidize and turn rancid far sooner than lard would, it seems that some people have still been succesful with using olive oil to preserve food.

Perhaps they did keep the pork and oil in covered clay jars or pots of some kind that would minimize oxygen contact and rancidity. Who knows?

At any rate, whether olive oil is the best for preservation or not, at least the part of the puzzle about the flavor of pork that is confited in olive oil has been solved...it's delicious!

If you haven't already, but are interested in more about this dish, I recommend looking at this thread:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=27577

where you'll find quite a few posts on this dish, and a number of photos as well. It seems that many people love it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must say that I once made 2 confit'd pork shoulders simultaneously--one in lard and one in olive oil, and I could not taste a difference. Am I crazy? Is canned supermarket lard really superior anyway?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By daniel123456789876543
      I have been making pancetta for the first time. I have experience with the curing process doing things like bacon and cold smoked salmon in the past but this is the first time I have ever hanged anything.
       
      After a week of curing it has had 11 days  hanging so far (I was planning on taking it to 28 days hanging) Although I foolishly forgot to weigh it. 
      It smells really good like some awesome salami and the outer rim of the pancetta looks lovely and rich and dark.
      It was a recipe by Kuhlman in one of their charcuterie books.
      But when I inspected it today it had the mould growing on it as in the pics below. I have since scrubbed the mould off with white wine vinegar and returned it to the cellar. Is it wise to continue?
       
      Daniel
       
       
       


    • By liuzhou
      Following my posting a supermarket bought roast rabbit in the Dinner topic, @Anna N expressed her surprise at my local supermarkets selling such things just like in the west supermarkets sell rotisserie chickens. I promised to photograph the pre-cooked food round these parts.

      I can't identify them all, so have fun guessing!



      Rabbit
       

      Chicken x 2
       

       

       

      Duck
       

       

       

      Chicken feet
       

      Duck Feet
       

      Pig's Ear
       

       

      Pork Intestine Rolls
       

       

      Stewed River Snails
       

      Stewed Duck Feet (often served with the snails above)


       

      Beef
       

      Pork
       

      Beijing  Duck gets its own counter.
       
      More pre-cooked food to come. Apologies for some bady lit images - I guess the designers didn't figure on nosy foreigners inspecting the goods and disseminating pictures worldwide.
    • By DanM
      Normally, the local market has bresaola in tissue paper thin slices. Today they also had packages in small dice, probably the leftover ends, bits and pieces. Any thoughts on how to enjoy them, besides nibbling on it? 
       
      Thank you!
    • By kayb
      Linguine with Squash, Goat Cheese and Bacon
      Serves 4 as Main Dishor 6 as Side.
      I stumbled on this while looking for recipes with goat cheese. It's from Real Simple (and it is!). I couldn't imagine the combination of flavors, but it was wonderful.

      6 slices bacon
      1 2- to 2 ½-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded, and diced (4 to 5 cups)
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1-1/2 c chicken broth
      1 tsp kosher salt
      4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
      1 lb linguine, cooked
      1 T olive oil
      2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

      Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel, then crumble or break into pieces; set aside. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the squash and garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is cooked through and softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Add half the goat cheese and stir well to combine. Place the cooked linguine in a large bowl. Stir the sauce into the linguine and toss well to coat. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the reserved bacon, the remaining goat cheese, and the pepper. Serve immediately.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Easy, Vegetables, Dinner
      ( RG2158 )
    • By phatj
      Duck Leg Confit Potstickers
      Serves 4 as Appetizer.
      These are seriously decadent potstickers.
      I devised this recipe as part of a Duck Three Ways dinner wherein over the course of three days I dismantled a whole duck using various parts for various things, including rendering fat, making stock and confiting the legs. If you're super-ambitious and do it my way, you'll have duck stock and duck fat on hand as this recipe calls for; otherwise, substitute chicken stock and peanut oil or whatever you have on hand.

      2 confited duck legs, bones discarded and meat shredded
      2 c sliced shiitake caps
      1/2 c sliced scallions
      splash fish sauce
      1 tsp grated fresh ginger
      1 tsp grated fresh garlic
      pinch Five Spice powder
      pot sticker wrappers
      3 c duck stock
      3 T duck fat

      1. Saute shiitakes in duck fat over high heat until most liquid has evaporated and they are beginning to brown.
      Meanwhile, reduce about 1 C duck stock in a small saucepan over medium heat until it's almost syrupy in consistency and tastes sweet.
      Also, warm a couple of cups of unreduced duck stock over low heat in another saucepan.
      2. Combine mushrooms, duck meat, scallions, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and Five Spice powder in a bowl.
      3. Place a teaspoon or so of the duck mixture in the center of a potsticker wrapper; wet half of the edge with water and seal, pinching and pleating one side.
      If you prepare more potstickers than you're going to want to eat, they can be frozen on cookie sheets then put into freezer bags for later.
      4. When all potstickers are sealed, heat a flat-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, melt enough duck fat to thinly cover the bottom, then add the potstickers.
      5. Cook undisturbed until the bottoms are browned, 3-5 minutes, then enough unreduced duck stock to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 inch deep and cover the pan.
      6. Cook until most liquid is absorbed, then uncover and cook until remaining liquid evaporates.
      While potstickers are cooking, make a dipping sauce by combining the reduced duck stock 1:1 with soy sauce, then adding a little rice vinegar, brown sugar (if the duck stock isn't sweet enough), and sesame oil.
      Serve potstickers immediately when done.
      Keywords: Hors d'oeuvre, Appetizer, Intermediate, Duck, Dinner, Chinese
      ( RG2052 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...