CHICKEN CONFIT GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH
IF LIKE ME, YOU’RE TURKEY-LESS OR DUCK-LESS, DON’T LET THAT STOP’YA
GRAB YOUR NEAREST LIMBS OF ANY SORTS AND GO TO TOWN!
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.