So, here goes a new mini series, with recipes or tips on how to add some ooomph to your food with flavour bombs. I always have lots on hand, basically umami rich jars of goodness that will give a tired or quick dish a new life. It is the path to eating very well on very little time, and often little money. I will add to it here and there when I can.
I have been thinking about this for a bit but started it accidentally on Sunday night. I had bought 8 extra bulbs of garlic for bacon masterclass and was looking at them wondering what I would do with them.
I wasn’t short of ideas, it was basically a fight between whether I had the energy to trot to the butchers to make Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (I didn’t but will soon and will blog it) or whether I would confit the lot of them.
On a sleepy snowy Sunday, confit won. Confit is basically cooking in fat as a way of preserving food. It isn’t remotely complicated and has delicious results. Confit duck is probably the most well known, duck legs are cooked and preserved in duck fat, you can buy them like this or make them at home to store. It is what a squirrel would do to get through the winter, if only they could be bothered to cook, or had the manual dexterity.
I could have declared Sunday, confit Sunday. Confit duck formed part of the meal too, I roasted some delicious tinned confit duck legs that I had from my last trip to Paris, and made a butter out of the confit garlic. Tucked into some fresh homemade blaas (recipe from Comfort & Spice) and eaten while watching The Godfather, Sunday evening was complete and delicious.
You might be wondering why I didn’t just roast it? Confit garlic is different to roast garlic. The cloves are seperated and submerged in the oil resulting in a tender mellow nutty bite. Roast garlic, which is also delicious, is a little bolshier as the cloves roast directly in the oven heat, and they aren’t preserved either.
The oil you choose is up to you. I went for something light and flavourless, groundnut oil, this way you get a direct hit of garlic. You can also use an extra virgin olive oil and create a delicious flavoured olive oil as a by product of your confit process. I prefer the direct garlic hit that results from using a relatively unflavoured oil.
Note: use whatever you have to hand to flavour the confit, don’t stress about getting whole mace for example.
Recipe: Confit Garlic
3 bulbs of garlic, papery outer removed, and seperated into cloves (unpeeled)
enough oil to cover, with the roasting dish I used, I needed 200ml and I used groundnut oil
flavour bits: I used 3 bay leaves, a tsp of whole black peppercorns, and some whole mace
Preheat your oven to 150 deg C.
Arrange your garlic cloves on a single layer in a suitable roasting dish (I used the one in the photo), add your flavouring bits and cover with oil until completely submerged.
Roast in the heated oven for 1 hour.
And that is that! Confit garlic. Easy, isn’t it?