Chicken Confit - A great way to deal with pasture raised chicken
Updated: May 10, 2021
The chicken for sale at the store is generally from chickens that sat around over-indulging themselves in a confined space and are processed early at about 8 weeks old. Our chickens on the other hand are foragers, they have space to wander freely and have bugs a plenty for which to forage, they also live longer than intensively farmed chickens do. This varied diet gives their meat more flavour and the moving around gives them muscular legs that would put the most avid exercisers to shame. That extra muscle can make their legs tough when cooked so slow cooking methods are king here.
The following recipe is for a chicken confit, it is a traditional French method of cooking and preserving food and comes from the French confire, meaning ‘to preserve’. It refers to anything cooked slowly in liquid. The most well-known confit dishes being of duck and goose.
In order to confit duck, goose or chicken the meat is first cured in salt and then cooked slowly in fat.
Juniper berries have a unique herbaceous almost piney flavour, they’re hard to get in the states so we substituted gin and rosemary. This is totally optional but even if you omit the gin, I’d recommend the rosemary, it imparts a beautiful aroma that will get your taste buds tickled every time you open the fridge during the curing stage.
You need a lot of fat as it is intended to cover the meat completely, the point of this being to keep out the air and therefore preserve the meat for storage. I used a combination of duck and chicken fat because it’s what I had to hand. When you make a stock with chicken, you’ll get a layer of fat that can be used for just this purpose. I have also heard of people using olive oil although that’s not something I have tried myself.
It’s incredibly easy to do, the most labour-intensive part being the bringing together of the salt and spices to cure the meat. After that it’s really just a case of sitting and waiting for the magic to happen. When it’s done you will have a meltingly tender piece of meat with a rich, flavorful and slightly salty flavor.