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!
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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.
Soe @limeandcilantroDecember 1, 2016 at 2:35 AM
That looks amazing Mandy. I have never made confit before. I guess now it is the time to change, and I look forward to your next week post.
MYCDecember 1, 2016 at 2:49 AM
Oooh this looks delicious! Dumb question: when you say cure, does that mean in the fridge or room temp?
AnnDecember 2, 2016 at 12:46 PM
Did you figure this out? I am an idiot in the kitchen but I want to try this – fridge or room?
mandy@ladyandpupsDecember 2, 2016 at 12:58 PM
Hey sorry about the late reply! I did it in room temperature, but if your room is warm, you should do it in the fridge :)
PamelaDecember 1, 2016 at 9:34 AM
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…..
georgie @ icookstuffDecember 1, 2016 at 1:05 PM
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 ?! … :)
lieberleckerDecember 1, 2016 at 3:54 PM
So extremely yummy looking, I’ld take one for breakfast ;-)
Best regards from Zurich,
SusanDecember 1, 2016 at 4:50 PM
.. 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.
RachaelDecember 2, 2016 at 12:10 AM
I’m giving this major heart eyes! It sounds delicious and mouth water!
KristinaDecember 4, 2016 at 5:11 AM
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!
Ruby & CakeDecember 4, 2016 at 6:23 PM
Heck yes i am craving a cheese toastie at the moment and this ticks all the boxes. Want. NEEEEED!
AnnDecember 5, 2016 at 8:34 AM
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.
mandy@ladyandpupsDecember 5, 2016 at 1:35 PM
Ann, those sounds wonderful! Thanks for the ideas :)
diamondDecember 19, 2016 at 1:16 AM
~it seems super-yummy~~
Maureen Grady HimmelJanuary 13, 2017 at 11:24 AM
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.
BradJanuary 31, 2017 at 7:56 AM
Do you bake in the over for 3:30 uncovered, or with the lid on? Would a dutch oven be ok?
mandy@ladyandpupsJanuary 31, 2017 at 12:42 PM
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 :)
qFebruary 22, 2017 at 7:18 AM
thinking of making this but do u think making it with boned chicken breast would work ?
qFebruary 22, 2017 at 7:18 AM
thinking of making this but do u think making it with bone in chicken breast would work ?
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 22, 2017 at 1:41 PM
Q, I’m not sure if you should confit breasts… I think it’ll be dry. But I’m guessing here. If you do try, let me know how it works out :)
qFebruary 24, 2017 at 9:11 AM
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 !!!
Sarah D.April 7, 2017 at 10:14 PM
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! :(
mandy@ladyandpupsApril 8, 2017 at 5:04 AM
Sarah, of course! I use it to dress vegetables, roast vegetables, make rice, fry rice… basically anything :)
KimJuly 7, 2017 at 3:51 AM
Hi Mandy, would it be possible to make this dish in a slow cooker/crock pot? Thanks so much.
mandy@ladyandpupsJuly 7, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Kim, I’ve never used a slow-cooker before so I can’t say for sure :( If you do give it a try, pls let me know if it works :)
kasiaSeptember 21, 2018 at 9:23 PM
I just came back from another trip to France and I fell in love with duck confit. This is a better alternative as a sandwich and with chicken. I did make my duck confit in a slow cooker last time it’s absolutely flawless, no way to screw it up. I just found your blog and I’ve pinned every recipe I read and cant stop. Beautiful photos and great recipes.