Chicken confit with warm and zingy lentil salad
Added by tonemid | Tue 14 Jul 2009 @ 13:36
I love duck confit. But as duck tends to be quite pricey and that goose fat is not readily available where I live, I got the idea of making chicken confit instead, substituting olive oil for goose fat. It turned out to be delicious! Now I make it several times a year. I prefer to serve with something a bit zingy, or just with a simple salad.
4 organic chicken legs
4 g coarse salt per 250 g of chicken
1/8 tsp thyme
4 peppercorns, roughly chopped
4 juniper berries, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh, each torn into two halves
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Plenty of cheap olive oil
250 g Puy lentils (or similar lentils)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
The jus from making chicken confit
4 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
Sherry vinegar, to taste
Finely chopped marjoram
Salt (if needed; the chicken jus will be quite salty)
Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted potato wedges (which have been roasted with a few sprigs of thyme, and possibly using chicken-flavoured olive oil))
4 portions aÔoli
For the chicken confit:
First weigh your chicken legs in order to determinate how much salt you should use. (There is no need to be meticulous about this; the íformulaí above has quite a bit of leeway to both sides.) Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and thyme. Press one half bay leaf and several garlic slivers onto the fleshy side of each leg. Distribute peppercorns and juniper berries evenly over the chicken pieces.Arrange the chicken legs in a non-reactive container, cover with plastic film, and refrigerate overnight, or upto 48 hours.
Preheat the oven to 90C. Rinse the chicken legs thouroughly, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Pack tightly in an ovenproof pan, and cover completely with olive oil. Bring to a simmer over a low heat. Place in the oven, uncovered, and cook for 3-4 hours, or until the fat has become clear, and the meat tender.
Carefully lift the chicken legs out of the fat. Place them in a deep, narrow dish. Pour in enough poaching fat to cover, and then a bit more. Make sure that the jus that have accumulated at the bottom keep in place, and that they donít blend in with the fat. Pour the remaining fat (with the jus, and now they may well be happily blended in) into a glass bowl. Refrigerate both.
The next day (or a couple of days later) remove both dishes from the fridge. Scrape off as much fat as possible from the glass bowl, and place in the fridge. Let the chicken sit in room temperature until the oil is nearly liquid. Lift the chicken legs out of the oil, and place on a plate.
Combine the oil from the fridge and the oil from the chicken in a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil. Strain and refrigerate. (This chicken-flavoured olive oil is an excellent cooking medium for meat, and even more so for potatoes.)
Also bring the gelatinous jus from the bottom of the glass bowl to the boil. Strain and reserve Ė it is to be used in the warm lentil salad.
For the lentil salad:
Boil the lentils in plenty of lightly salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.
Gently fry the onion in a bit of olive oil for a minute or so (itís only nice if it still has a bit of crunch when the salad is finished). Add the garlic, and fry for one more minute.
Add the lentils and the chicken jus (all of it might not be needed), and cook until the lentils are heated through.
Stir in the tomatoes and the marjoram. Season to taste with sherry vinegar (I like to use quite a lot as to counteract the fattyness of the chicken), salt (if needed), and freshly ground black pepper.
For the chicken confit:
Fry the chicken legs until they are heated through, and their skins golden and crisp.
Divide the warm salad between four plates. Sit he chicken legs on top. Serve with roasted potato wedges and aÔoli. (The potatoes and the aÔoli can obviously be skipped entirely, or be replaced with crisp salad leaves. Thatís also very nice!)