Preserving (Beets + Chicken)




Pickled beets + chicken confit = a delicious (but slightly too small) salad.

The beets are completely covered over at Food In Jars, although I did give mine a quick rinse under cold water to make them just a little bit less puckery.

The confit was a little more complicated.  We had learned the basic method--cure the meat, cook it low and slow in oil, pack it in fat, and pop it in the fridge--at last month's charcuterie club meeting.  Understanding the basic method, I generally referenced Mark Bittman, Emeril, and Hunter Angler Gardener Cook to nail down the specifics.

We started with a whole chicken, but reserved the breasts for dinner a different night.  Taking the meat that was left (so thighs, legs, backs), we rubbed it in a mixture of salt, curing salt, and fresh herbs, and let it cure in the fridge for about 24 hours.

Then we put it in our dutch oven--along with a few extra sprigs of thyme and some garlic--and completely covered it in olive oil.  We heated it on the stove top until it was just beginning to produce tiny bubbles, and then put it in a 225 degree oven for about 3 hours.

After that, the chicken went into a ramekin just big enough to hold it, and was covered with the oil used in the cooking.  (Save the extra oil and juices--divine for flavoring other things!)  We wanted to break into it much earlier this week, but I thought it would be better if we left it to think a few days.

Tonight, I fished out a leg and a thigh, crisped it up in a frying pan, and Sweet Husband shredded it for this salad.  We both concurred that it tasted like the most chicken-y chicken ever.  "It's chicken times 10!" quoth Sweet Husband.  The Kid offered no opinion, but merely began shoveling it into his mouth.

The only hiccup?  Having been warned about the richness of confit, I assumed we could make a meal out of just a bit of it.  Alas, when the salad was gone, we were all still a bit peckish.  So we had to go get cupcakes.  This also was very upsetting to the Kid, and well, all of us really....not.