One of the earliest means of preserving meat, confit is the culinary calling card of southwestern France. Cassoulet, made with white beans and duck, and garbure, a stew of vegetables and duck or goose, both feature meat prepared in this manner. The word confit comes from the French confire (“to preserve”), and in times before refrigeration, the ducks, geese, and other waterfowl plentiful in the region were cooked this way, sealed in fat to keep bacteria out, then stored in an earthenware pot in a cool cellar. As the meat cures in the fat, the protein tenderizes further, allowing it to improve with time. Tougher cuts (turkey legs, for example) are ideal for confit, elevating would-be leftovers to elegant cold-weather fare.