As penance for my lag in posting, I thought I would give you not one recipe, but two! The first recipe isn't really a recipe, more a technique, but anyhoo ...
Garlic Confit is a really nice treat to have on hand. Technically a confit is some sort of animal protein (like chicken, duck or turkey) slowly cooked in its own fat until tender. In recent years, the term confit has been extended to cover vegetables slowly cooked in oil (usually olive oil) until tender and silky. So, this method is for garlic confit but you can apply the same principles to onions, shallots, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
- Garlic cloves, peeled (as many as you want - I cooked up about three cups)
- Sprigs of fresh herbs or a few dried chilies, optional
- Olive oil, to cover
Let the confit cool and then transfer to clean glass jars. The confit should be stored covered with oil and stored in the refrigerator - any extra oil should be strained and stored in the refrigerator. Use your confit and garlic oil within a week. (See the comments below for why.)
Now you have a jar full of garlic confit in your fridge, so what do you do with it? You can spread the cloves on grilled or toasted bread, use them in a roast beef sandwich, bake them into foccacia or add them to pasta. I used some of my confit to make this soothing, warming bean stew:
Cannellini Bean Stew with Garlic Confit
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1.5 cups dried cannellini beans, cooked or 3 cans cannellini beans, drained with some liquid reserved
- 6 canned tomatoes, chopped
- 1-2 cups chicken broth, canned is fine
- 1/2 cup garlic confit
- minced rosemary, optional
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1-2 pieces of pancetta or bacon, chopped fine
- handful grated parmesan
While the stew is cooking, make the crispy breadcrumb topping: Saute the bacon or pancetta until crispy. Toast the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil until golden brown (do this in a skillet or on a baking sheet in your oven). Toss the breadcrumbs, bacon and cheese together.
When the bean stew looks and tastes right to you (the tomatoes should have broken down and are part of the sauce binding the beans and confit together - think Italianate baked beans). Served, topped with a handful of the breadcrumb mixture.
This is a really soul-satisfying dish. The beans are super-creamy and each smooth bite is punctuated with hits of garlic and crunchy bites of breadcrumb. It's super-easy to make this dish vegetarian by leaving out the bacon.