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Author Notes: I invented this recipe a few months ago. At the time I was completely enthused with Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book, I and was making confits, pâtés and cured meats all the time. The dish came about as a result of having far too much confited meat in the fridge that needed eating. It makes for quite a tasty appetizer! It is really easy to prepare, but needs some planning. —Tonemid
- 2 chicken legs, skin-on, each weighing about 1/2 lb.
- 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 green peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 bay leaf, torn in half
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- Plenty of inexpensive olive oil
- 1 tablespoon French wholegrain mustard
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram
- Salt (if needed), and freshly ground pepper
- Sprinkle the chicken legs with salt and thyme, and rub into the meat. Distribute crushed peppercorns evenly over the chicken pieces. Press one half bay leaves and several garlic slivers onto the fleshy side of each of the two legs. Arrange the chicken legs in a non-reactive container, cover with plastic film, and refrigerate overnight, or up to 48 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 200 F. 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 in a deep, narrow dish. Pour in enough poaching fat to cover, and then a bit more. Make sure that the chicken juices that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan keep in place, and that they don’t blend in with the fat as you pour. Refrigerate.
- Tip the remaining fat (with the juices, and now they may well be happily blended together) into a glass bowl. Refrigerate.
- The next day (or a couple of days later) remove the dish containing the chicken from the fridge. Let 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 chicken and the nearly solified oil from the fridge (without the juices that are sitting at the bottom of the glass bowl - put the bowl with juices straight back into the fridge) into a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil. Strain, chill and refrigerate. (This chicken-flavoured olive oil is an excellent cooking medium for meat, and even more so for potatoes. It will keep for a couple of weeks.)
- Pull the meat off the chicken legs. Discard skin and bones. Shred meat finely, either with hands, or using two forks. Place in a bowl, and mix with mustard, garlic, marjoram and most of the jellified chicken juices from the fridge. Season with salt (if needed), and freshly ground pepper.
- To serve: Either distribute between eight little individual ramekins, or spread on small toasts.Offer mayo, French-style gherkins, and crisp salad leaves on the side.