Life is going through some dramatic, if not crazy, changes.  And I’m mastering the art of adaptation.  I know I threw a bomb out last post without any proper context, and perhaps have gotten some friends worried.  I thank you all for the comfort, support, and unrelenting kindness that you gave this stranger who talks on the screen.   It is a compassion that I may even lack in comparison, embarrassingly, and such realization has helped pulling myself away from my emotional blackhole in a strange way, shown me perspectives.  If that makes any sense.  Still a bunch of gibberish, I know.

I promise I will explain everything next week.

Meanwhile, holy shit, Thanksgiving was last week?  Where have I been…

Well, this recipe was a whiff of fairy dust springing out of the ashes of post-Thanksgiving conversations.  Being genetically anti-turkey, I was dissing Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches on Instagram when this guy, rightly so, shut me up with these three little words – “turkey legs confit”.  OK, you win, and for the first time in my life, I’ve never felt so empty in my turkey-less habitat.  If you were like me, turkey-less, duck-less, goose-less or any fancy two-legged-less, don’t let it stop’ya.  Grab your nearest limbs of any sorts and go to town!  Chickens, why not!  In fact, any bone-in meats cured in ground bay leaf-salt then melted down slowly inside its own grease, is one of those things that guarantee to not suck .

Keep in mind that recipes of this sort is a vehicle-recipe, meaning it’s more like a tool, and it’s up to you where you want to be taken.  For me, I like to stay pure, especially when it comes to a dish whose glory lies within its singular yet complex, condensed, unadulterated poultry-ness.  Drowning it out with an avalanche of insecurity would mean wasting all those hours to get them to be independently fantastic.  Crisped up real good in some thyme-infused grease, then tossed together with a brightening note of Dijon mustard and white pepper, these chicken-bombs will take nothing more to sing other than some creamy cheese and crispy sourdough breads.  Soaked and pan-fried inside that confit-grease of course I don’t know why you ask.

It’s getting cold.  Keep your lips moistened with that precious grease.  Next week, we talk.



Yield: approx 6 sandwiches


  • 4 whole chicken legs (hopefully from good flavorful chickens)
  • 5 tbsp (71 grams) coarse sea salt
  • 5 fresh bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • enough chicken fat or olive oil to cover
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • slices of sourdough bread
  • soft/mild cheeses such as brillat savarin, or brie
  • finely diced scallion


  1. MAKE CHICKEN CONFIT: Place coarse sea salt and fresh bay leaves in a food-processor, and run util evenly ground together into "green salt". Rub the salt evenly over the chicken legs, with just enough to generously cover the surface, then let cure for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven on 285 F/140 C. Rinse the chicken legs to remove the green salt then pat dry with a clean towel. Place them inside a baking container that will fit the legs snuggly and tightly (the less empty space there is, the less oil you'll need), then fill with enough chicken fat or olive oil to cover the legs. Scatter the garlics around, cover, then place on a sheet-pan and bake for 3:30 hours. Let cool completely inside the fridge. Can be made a few days ahead.
  3. To serve, carefully remove the legs from the oil, then place them skin-side down first in a large non-stick skillet. Heat over medium-high heat and cook until the skin-sides are golden browned, then turn and scatter the fresh thyme inside the skillet to infuse the oil, and slightly brown the meat-sides as well. Transfer the legs into a large plate (keep the oil inside the skillet). Remove all the skins and meats, and discard the bones. Toss the meats with Dijon mustard, ground white pepper, and 1 tbsp of the fat. Set aside.
  4. MAKE SANDWICH: Generously smear both sides of the breads with brillat savarin (or brie), scatter the scallions around, then a good pile of chicken confit. Inside the same skillet, leave enough confit-fat to generously coat both sides of the sandwiches, add the sandwich, and toast over medium-high heat until golden browned and crispy on both sides. Serve immediately.


  • Oooh this looks delicious! Dumb question: when you say cure, does that mean in the fridge or room temp?

  • This sounds amazing. Another amazing treat.

    I bet the chicken gets really tender. One of the things I love about rotisserie chicken is that it is soooo tender. I bet this is waaaay better flavor-wise. And since it is really tender, just wonderful in a sandwich or on a plate as is……. I am thinking some homemade noodles of some sort could be added to the leftovers with lots of black pepper for a really nice chicken dinner too…..

  • OMG, so cool ! I’ve been spending the last few days getting a head start on the holidays … curing meats, confit-ing duck, experimenting with foie gras, candying fruits (the chestnuts are so damn tricky & bitchy), making christmassy desserts and etc etc …. I’m practically looking forward to my duck and turkey leftovers after the holiday meals to just to make a sandwich like yours … But then again, why wait until then, right ?! … :)

  • .. and a Aussie say hell yes please to that any time of the day! I’m making fried rice with lap cheong, bacon, some veggies etc tonight in some chicken fat I rescued from the top of the last stock I made.

  • Tried this today! Super-yummy and really tender! Never made a confit before either, so thanks for inspiring me to try it! :) though, if anything, as a tip- don’t go easy on the Dijon mustard!

  • mandy, I only do email, but commenting on your instagram chicken fat pix. My grandmother use to make cookies using rendered chicken fat instead of butter (she was born in 1897 and lived on a farm). They were actually very nice and were crispy. Also, there was a recipe for gingersnaps in an old martha stewart magazine using bacon grease(circa WW II recipe origin). I made them one year and they were great and you couldn’t tell it was bacon grease.

  • Made this tonight. It was a two-day process for me: cured in fridge all day while I was at work, cooked when I got home, refrigerated all night and day, finished the recipe tonight. OMG this was food explosion, it was so rich and sumptuous! Soooo good.

    • Brad, with lid! I just used a small baking dish covered with aluminum. If you’re using Dutch oven, make sure it’s not too big so you don’t need too much oil to cover the chicken :)

    • i tried it with both with thighs and breasts and the it was reallly soooooooo goooooood!!! perfect on rice as well! but the one i did with breast did turn out to be dry.. u were right! guess i should just stick with the thighs .. :) just thought i wanted to use up the whole chicken that’s why.. thank u for such an awesome recipe once again !!!

  • Is there anything we can do with the leftover oil in the baking sheet? I feel like it’s such a waste to just throw it away! :(

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