I’m always looking for new ways to cook stuff, partly from curiosity, partly because my oven sucks. I was speaking with the chef at one of our restaurant accounts and got interested in confit. Confit, which is French so the “t” is silent for some reason (to get the pronunciation just right you should slur like you’ve just polished off a sixer of chu-hi), is an old-fashioned way to cook and preserve meat. Traditionally you salt the meat and then cook it in it’s own rendered fat, duck leg confit is a staple on the menu at most French restaurants.
Even though confit is cooking in oil, it’s different than frying, it is slow cooking at low temperatures for several hours. I’m not really good at doing anything that takes several hours, both my attention span and memory are so short that the last time I tried to make regular coffee as opposed to instant, the pot sat for two day before I remembered to turn it on. However, I am really good at chucking meat at a heat source and turning up later to see if it’s ready. It turns out that I have an appliance in my kitchen that is perfect for this sort of thing—the rice cooker!
The way a rice cooker works is that it does three basic things. First it brings the pot to a boil under pressure to capture the steam, next it holds that temperature for about 15 minutes to allow the rice to absorb the moisture, then it goes into a “warm” phase to keep it hot. So it quickly heats to 100°C, then drops down to around 50 or 60°C, hot enough to cook and kill any bacteria, but too cool to fry, perfect for confit.
I started with a nice little 7 pound turkey that I had laying around and a pulled out the timer and the plastic thing that holds the legs together, you don't want to cook these in oil.
My rice cooker is not so big so I cut it up into pieces, if you have a large enough cooker, you could do this with the whole bird, that would require a lot of oil. I broke the bird into the leg and thigh portions, wings, back, and breast. There is not much meat on the back so I threw that part into the soup pot along with one wing that wouldn’t fit.
Next I scored it so that the spice rub would penetrate into the meat, then I rubbed it all over with some of our Almighty Spice (oh so very mighty!). This bird was pre-brined so I didn't really need to do much more. If you are working with a bird that has not been brined, then you should generously rub some salt on it as well and let it sit for 10 or 20 minutes.