How to Make Confit Lamb at Home (Recipe)

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Confit, or highly seasoned meat cooked slowly in it’s own fat, is a classic French method of meat preservation dating back to times before we had refrigerators and freezers to preserve meat for the winter. In this post, I’ll show you how to make your own confit lamb at home.

Lamb neck in a pot with herbs about to be made into confit.

Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo

How to Make Lamb Confit

In a perfect world, you want to use cuts of meat for slow cooking. With lamb, goat, and other ruminants like venison, shoulder is one of the most commonly used cuts for confit, but neck is just as good.

After cooking in fat, confit was typically cooked again with beans or in stews, or made into rillettes, a sort of spreadable, shredded meat pate. Now days, chefs (and home cooks) serve confit in all kinds of ways, but some of the classic ways are still the best.

Pouring rendered lamb tallow over a lamb neck.
The meat needs to be covered with lard or other fat for it’s long, low cooking.

If you look online, making confit can be intimidating as it calls for a lot of rendered tallow. Rendered tallow will give confit with the deepest flavor, but originally the meat was cooked in tallow or lard since it would solidify after cooking, and form an air tight seal. If you’re making confit at home, and don’t have animal fats, it’s fine to substitute cooking oil along with some animal fat, or in a pinch, even just oil, just don’t brag about it to a chef from France.

A pot full of lamb confit covered with solidified cooled lamb tallow.
After chilling, the lard will form an air-tight seal, which is how it was stored in pre-refrigeration days.

How Much Salt to Add to Confit

Chef Bergo has made confit for years, out of many different animals. He recommends from 1.5% salt by weight. To find out how much to season our lamb neck, we take the weight in ounces, and convert it to grams. Our neck was 2.5 lbs, or 1120 grams. 1120 grams x .015 is 17 grams, or 1 heaping tablespoon of kosher salt.

After the confit is cooked, Chef Bergo recommends letting it sit under the lard for at least a few days, but it can be eaten right away. It’s excellent on top of cooked white beans and wilted greens, or save it to make lamb rillettes!

A bageutte with rillettes on top next to a pot full of rillettes.
Lamb Rillettes

This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo. He’s a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at foragerchef.com. 

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

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Grass fed lamb or goat neck confit recipe
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Homemade Lamb Confit

Lamb seasoned with herbs and cooked slowly in it's fat until fork tender.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: lamb confit recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 417kcal
Cost: 10

Equipment

  • A baking dish or pan the neck can fit in snugly, such as an 8 inch diameter saucepan

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs lamb shoulder or neck about 2.5 lbs
  • 4 cups Rendered lamb tallow or whatever animal fat is available
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Small sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 17 grams of kosher salt or 1 heaping tablespoon
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Instructions

  • Season the neck all over with the salt, then allow to rest overnight.
  • The next day, rinse the meat quickly under water to remove excess salt, then place in a pot with the remaining ingredients, completely covering the neck with lard.
  • Cover and bake the lamb at 250 for 3 hours, or until the meat moves freely from the bone. Remove the pot from the oven and cool. Discard the herbs and spices.
  • From here, if you used lard or tallow, you can transfer the lamb neck to a container and refrigerate it for months as long as the meat is completely covered by fat. If you used oil, you'll want to use the confit within a week.

Notes

Many other cuts can be prepared like this. Shoulder is especially good.

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz | Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg

Lamb or goat rillettes recipe
Rillettes are a sort of spreadable pate made from confit.

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