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The Method: Confit

Confit is the French word for "preserve", and it is an ancient way to prepare and add incredible flavor to just about anything. Tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, onions, peppers and meat (especially birds' legs) are all great candidates for confit, which is essentially slow cooking in a bath of fat at a very low temperature. For fruits, a confit would consist of a bath of syrup rather than fat.

For a vegetable or allium confit, simply season with salt and red chili flakes, add sprigs of any fresh herb you have, and cover in olive oil. Replace some of the oil with melted butter if you choose. Cook in a 225 degree oven for 2-3 hours, until everthing is soft and broken down. Use the rich, sweet flavor of confit garlic and tomatoes as a base for sauce, or simply stir through pasta or risotto for a real treat. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Meat should be treated to a salt cure before being slow cooked. Try whizzing salt and pepper with garlic, onions or shallots in a food processor, then pack the meat in the salt mixture with some fresh herbs and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

To cook, wipe off the salt and pat the meat dry. Submerge in melted duck fat or olive oil and bake for 3 - 4 hours, until the meat is compltely soft and the skin is starting to fall away. Allow the meat to cool, then store in its oil for up to a month. Roast the meat in a hot oven for 40 minutes or until it is golden and crispy when you are ready to enjoy a truly decadent meal.