Friday, October 06, 2006

a ridiculously expensive disaster aka chicken confit

recipe #78

Here is the disasterous recipe that is either wrong or I screwed up:
* 4 chicken leg portions with thighs attached, excess fat trimmed and reserved (about 2 pounds)
* 1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 10 garlic cloves
* 4 bay leaves
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
* 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 4 cups olive oil

Lay the leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme on each of 2 leg portions. Lay the remaining 2 leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top. Put the reserved fat from the chicken in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat and reserve. Rinse the chicken with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.

Put the reserved garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and duck fat in the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and salt. Lay the chicken on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil. Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Remove the chicken from the fat. Strain the fat and reserve. Pick the meat from the bones and place it in a stoneware container. Cover the meat with some of the strained fat, making a 1/4-inch layer. The chicken confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

The excess oil can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used like butter for cooking. The tinge of chicken taste in the oil is wonderful and I use the oil to roast potatoes, cook green beans, and pan-fry veal.

This was an Emeril recipe, BTW.
Mine was like leather after 12 hrs. of cooking.

All told I think that this screw up cost me around 20 some odd dollars.



David said...

Just prepared the same recipe and the results were fabulous. The chicken confit was moist and flavorful - an excellent substitute for duck confit.

From looking at your photo I think you may have misunderstood one critical point in the recipe: The chicken leg sections need to be completely immersed in the oil. You don't want any chicken meat to be exposed to the dry oven heat. Your oven might also have been too hot (check the temperature with a thermometer to be sure the temperature that you set is really what you get).

I used a little different technique which worked perfectly and it really reduced the amount of oil required. I put the chicken legs in a large vacuum seal plastic bag, then filled the bag with olive oil. Then I vacuum sealed it with my Foodsaver machine. This gave me a sealed bag full of chicken legs that were completely immersed in oil. I then put the bag on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree f oven for 12 hours. The results were perfect.

Dave Small

Evan said...

Agree with above. The recipe is great--I have used it at least 5 times now. Chicken confit is far cheaper than duck, and is incredibly versatile.

You can cook the chicken in other flavors as well depending on the meal you're planning. The long cook time allows different herbs/spices to aromatize the cooking oil and the meat. I've put chiles and cumin in the oil to cook, then shredded the meat for tacos. I've also used moroccan spices--the possibilities are endless!

And the oil that you get out at the end is not wasted by any means--you can refrigerate it for months, and use it for a variety of awesome purposes.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I think your chicken might have been tough because you used an immense quantity of salt (which will dry out the flesh) and you cooked it in oil. This is not how to make confit - what you are making is stewed chicken, which may or may not be tender but is certainly NOT confit.
Next time try using a little (or no) salt and goose or duck fat only!