I remember the days when the word “confit” was a rare treat I could only order at a fancy restaurant. Those were sad days. Luckily, my never-ending culinary curiosity led me to research how to make my own confit at home. I was surprised at how easy it was and how decadent and useful the results were. Wether you’re making duck, chicken, garlic, or anything confit, the final product will keep in the fridge for several days and up to 3 weeks, (depending on the type of fat you use), supplying you with incredibly delicious weeknight meals ready in minutes. Of course, duck fat renders fantastic results and keeps the longest, but I have found that two common pantry staples mixed together, olive and canola oil, work just as well and are much easier to work with and not to mention cheaper. I also really like using chicken thighs for several reasons: They are less fatty than duck, but taste almost as rich when cooked confit style, the dark meat of the thighs falls right off the bone and is easily shreddable, you can fit more thighs in the pan using a minimal amount of oil, and, once again, they are MUCH cheaper.
The whole process takes a couple of days, but the actual hands on time is very short. Just throw the brine on the chicken on day 1 and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, rinse the chicken and pat dry, place in a roasting pan or slow cooker, add aromatics, cover with oil, and cook low and slow for 6 or 8 hours. Let cool and place back into the fridge until ready to use. Covered in the oil, the chicken has lasted me for up to a week, though it never makes it that long.
For a simple quick dinner, just heat a pan over medium heat, add some of the oil you saved (the oil gets flavored with the chicken and is super useful in the kitchen for the week too! Try using it to fry up some potatoes. YUM!) and cook skin side down first, to crisp the chicken. Serve with a light and refreshing salad, like an endive, watercress, citrus and goat cheese salad with a citrus vinaigrette (perfect for winter!). Or shred and throw into a mediterranean pasta or grain salad with black olives, sun dried tomatoes and arugula. Or mix some shredded chicken confit with buffalo sauce, top with refreshing coleslaw and you’ve got a sandwich or sliders for lunch. Or try one of my favorite creations: Whole wheat BBQ chicken confit pizza with smoked gouda (as pictured). My husband can’t get enough of it! (Let me know in the comments if you would like the recipe) The possible uses for chicken confit are endless, the work is minimal and most importantly, the results are mouthwatering. Enjoy! —Jenya | BlueGalley
WHO: Jenya is no stranger to contests—her Bucatini Pasta with Pork Ragu won our The Best Thing You Ate This Year!
WHAT: Chicken thighs bathed in oil and cooked low and slow.
HOW: Let chicken dry brine overnight with garlic and herbs, then place in a large roasting pan, cover with oil, and roast at a low temperature for 6 to 8 hours.
WHY WE LOVE IT: For classic confit lovers, this version gives you the same kind of rich result, but for a much more economical price. Plus, the confit keeps for almost a week in the fridge (not that it will last that long). —The Editors