Garlic Confit

Earlier this month, I spent a business weekend on Cape Cod.  I've lived in New England all my life, have traveled north, south, west and abroad numerous times, but had never visited this crooked arm that juts into the Atlantic Ocean.

Holiday decorating is taken very seriously.  I could hardly wait to come home and adorn my own nest. 

And now with Christmas only a week away, this morning I decided it was time to do something with the dozen canning jars I had bought.  A food gift that required a minimal amount of time fit the bill nicely.

If you don't mind peeling lots of garlic, this recipe from Food & Wine may be the perfect solution for those people to whom you want to give a little something.

This is a first try and I'm imagining how creamy and delicious a few of the cloves will taste smeared on bruschetta.  The oil, too, should be wonderful for mopping up with a baguette.  

Tomorrow I'll buy bright red ribbons and tie the jars into cellophane bags. Voila!  They'll be ready to deliver.

I hope you and your families have a joyous Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

from FOOD & WINE, October 2011

6 heads garlic
6 thyme sprigs
3 small bay leaves
3 dried red chilies
2 cups pure olive oil

Peel the garlic cloves from the heads - you will have approximately two cups.  In a medium saucepan, combine the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, chilies and olive oil.  Simmer over low heat until the garlic is tender but not browned, about 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic, herbs and chilies into three 1/2-pint canning jars.  Pour the cooking oil on top, seal and keep refrigerated.  NOTE:  While the recipe states these may be refrigerated for up to four months, I'll suggest using them within a few weeks.

Mash the garlic into butter and spread on bread, or slip under chicken skin before roasting.


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