Confit Chicken Leg
Apr 28, 2023, Updated May 09, 2023
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The confit chicken leg recipe involves slowly cooking chicken legs in fat, resulting in tender and flavorful meat.
The chicken legs are seasoned and submerged in duck fat or cooking oil before being cooked at a low temperature in the oven for several hours. The slow cooking process allows the chicken to become moist and tender while infusing it with rich flavors. The finished confit chicken legs can be seared for added crispiness before serving with complementary sides.
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Slow Oil Roasted Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken leg confit is a culinary delight that offers a combination of rich, tender meat and a flavorful, crispy skin. The confit cooking method transforms the chicken legs into a succulent and delicious dish that is highly regarded by food enthusiasts.
What makes chicken leg confit so appealing is the way it enhances the natural flavors of the meat. During the slow-cooking process, the chicken legs are submerged in fat, usually duck fat or vegetable oil, and cooked at a low temperature for an extended period. This technique allows the chicken to cook gently, resulting in incredibly tender and moist meat. The fat also imparts a luscious richness to the chicken, infusing it with a depth of flavor that is hard to achieve through other cooking methods.
After the slow cooking, the chicken legs are typically finished off in a pan or under the broiler to crisp up the skin. This additional step adds a perfect crispy crunchy contrast to the chicken, with the skin turning golden brown and becoming irresistible! The combination of the tender meat and the crispy skin creates a balance that takes this recipe over the top!
One of the reasons why chicken leg confit is relatively easy to prepare is the forgiving nature of the confit cooking method. Unlike traditional roasting, where there is a risk of dryness or toughness if the meat is cooked for too long, the confit method ensures that the meat remains moist and tender, even if slightly overcooked.
The process of confit originally emerged as a preservation technique, allowing meats to be preserved for an extended period. The fat acts as a sealant, preventing air and bacteria from reaching the food, thus extending its shelf life. Over time, confit has evolved into a culinary technique appreciated for its ability to transform ingredients into delectable and flavorful dishes – like our Garlic Confit!
How to Make Chicken Drumstick Confit
To make this recipe, you will need:
- Chicken drumsticks: The star of the dish, chicken drumsticks provide the meaty foundation. They have a rich flavor and tender texture, making them ideal for confit preparations. The drumsticks become incredibly tender and juicy as they slow-cook in the fat, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
- Olive oil: While traditional confit recipes often use duck fat, olive oil can be a flavorful and healthier alternative. It helps submerge the chicken drumsticks during the slow-cooking process, infusing them with its own distinct taste. Olive oil adds a fruity and savory note to the confit, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- Garlic cloves: Garlic brings a pungent and aromatic quality to the confit. As it simmers in the oil or fat, the cloves release their flavors, infusing the chicken drumsticks with a subtle garlic essence. The slow-cooking process mellows the garlic’s sharpness, resulting in a more delicate and nuanced flavor.
- Harissa powder: Harissa is a North African spice blend typically made from chili peppers, garlic, and various herbs and spices. By adding harissa powder to the chicken leg confit, you introduce a complex and slightly spicy flavor profile to the dish. The heat from the chili peppers adds a pleasant kick, while the other spices in the blend contribute depth and warmth.
- Italian herbs: Italian herbs, such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, provide a classic and aromatic touch to the confit. These herbs infuse the chicken drumsticks with their distinctive flavors, offering a harmonious blend of earthiness, freshness, and a hint of sweetness. They complement the richness of the meat and add layers of complexity to the overall taste.
- Celtic sea salt: Celtic sea salt is a high-quality and unrefined salt known for its mineral content. When used in chicken leg confit, it helps enhance the flavors of the other ingredients, seasoning the drumsticks evenly. The salt also aids in drawing out moisture from the meat, which promotes tenderness and juiciness.
- Pepper: Ground black pepper adds a gentle heat and subtle spiciness to the confit. It balances the flavors of the other ingredients and enhances the overall taste profile. Pepper also contributes a pleasant aromatic note, enhancing the aroma of the dish.
- Prep. Start by preparing the chicken legs. Remove any excess fat and season them with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices. Place the chicken legs in a large, oven-safe dish or a deep pan. Make sure they fit in a single layer. Cover the chicken legs with olive oil. The fat should completely submerge the chicken legs. Preheat the oven to a low temperature, around 275°F (135°C).
- Roast. Once the oven is heated, transfer the dish with the chicken legs and fat into the oven. Cook them slowly for about 2 to 3 hours until the chicken is tender and cooked through. During the cooking process, the chicken legs will confit in the fat, which will help keep them moist and flavorful. Once the chicken legs are cooked, remove them from the fat and let them cool slightly.
- Crisp. For an extra crispy finish, you can sear the chicken legs in a hot skillet with a bit of oil or butter for a few minutes on each side.
- Serve. Serve the confit chicken legs hot and enjoy! They pair well with roasted potatoes, a side salad, or any other desired accompaniments.
Remember, the cooking times and temperatures may vary, so it’s essential to monitor the chicken legs closely to achieve the desired tenderness and doneness.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Chicken Leg Confit
Use quality chicken drumsticks: Opt for fresh, high-quality chicken drumsticks. Look for drumsticks with a good amount of meat and avoid any that appear bruised or have an off odor.
Season the drumsticks adequately: Be generous with your seasoning. Ensure that the drumsticks are well coated with the spice mixture, including the harissa powder, Italian herbs, Celtic sea salt, and pepper. This will help to enhance the flavors throughout the confit process.
Let the drumsticks marinate: After seasoning, allow the drumsticks to marinate for some time, ideally for about 20 minutes. This helps the flavors penetrate the meat and adds depth to the final dish.
Choose the right fat or oil: While traditional recipes use duck fat, you can use olive oil as a tasty and healthier alternative. Make sure the fat or oil covers the drumsticks entirely during the cooking process to ensure even cooking and a moist result.
Cook at a low temperature: Confit is a slow-cooking process, so maintain a low oven temperature, typically around 300°F (150°C). The low temperature allows the meat to cook slowly, resulting in tender and juicy chicken drumsticks.
Ensure the drumsticks are fully submerged: When placing the drumsticks in the pot or skillet, ensure they are fully submerged in the fat or oil. This helps to lock in moisture and infuse the chicken with flavor throughout the cooking process.
Monitor cooking time: While the recommended cooking time is around 2 to 2 1/2 hours, it’s essential to check the drumsticks periodically to ensure they don’t overcook. The goal is to have the meat tender and falling off the bone, so adjust the cooking time as needed based on your oven.
Yes, you can use other parts of the chicken, such as chicken thighs or even whole chicken legs, for confit. The cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the pieces, so adjust accordingly.
Yes, you can strain and reuse the fat or oil for future confit or other cooking purposes. Simply strain out any impurities, cool it down, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be reused several times, but be mindful of the flavor transfer between different meats.
Yes, chicken leg confit can be made ahead of time. After cooking, let the confit cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it in its cooking fat or oil. This can extend its shelf life for several days. When ready to serve, you can reheat the confit gently in a skillet or oven to warm it through before crisping up the skin.
Yes, if you prefer not to use duck fat, you can substitute it with other fats like olive oil, vegetable oil, or even lard. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile will be different. Duck fat provides a unique richness and flavor to the confit, so the substitute may alter the taste slightly.
To achieve crispy skin, you can pan-fry or broil the chicken legs after they have been cooked in the fat or oil. Place them in a hot skillet with a little oil, skin-side down, and cook until the skin turns golden and crispy. Alternatively, you can transfer the cooked drumsticks to a baking sheet and broil them for a few minutes until the skin crisps up.
Yes, you can freeze chicken leg confit. Let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bags. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
What to Serve With Chicken Leg Confit
Roasted Potatoes: Crispy roasted potatoes make a classic and comforting accompaniment to chicken leg confit. Toss baby potatoes or diced potatoes with olive oil, salt, and herbs like rosemary or thyme. Roast them in the oven until golden and crispy.
Sautéed Vegetables: Lightly sautéed vegetables like zucchini and squash provide a fresh and vibrant contrast to the rich confit. Consider using seasonal vegetables like green beans, asparagus, carrots, or Brussels sprouts. Sauté them in olive oil or butter until tender-crisp, and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Grains or Rice: Serve the confit over a bed of cooked grains like farro salad, couscous, or wild rice pilaf. These grains provide texture and absorb the flavors of the confit. You can also consider pilaf-style preparations with fragrant herbs and spices.
Fresh Salad: Balance the richness of the confit with a fresh and light salad like Chickpea Pomegranate Salad.
Bread or Baguette: Crusty bread like The Best Easy No Knead Bread, Overnight Garlic Herb Focaccia, or a freshly baked baguette is perfect for mopping up the flavorful juices from the confit. Serve it on the side for a simple and satisfying addition.
Check out some of our recent favorite side dishes below:
Chicken Leg Confit Recipe
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- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon harissa powder (adjust according to your preference for spiciness)
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs (a blend of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram)
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (preferably freshly ground)
- Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
- In a small bowl, mix together the harissa powder, Italian herbs, Celtic sea salt, and pepper.
- Rub the chicken drumsticks with the spice mixture, ensuring they are well coated on all sides. Let them marinate for about 20 minutes at room temperature.
- In a large ovenproof pot or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves and cook for a minute or until fragrant.
- Gently place the seasoned chicken drumsticks in the pot, making sure they are fully submerged in the olive oil. If needed, add a bit more olive oil to ensure they are covered.
- Transfer the pot to the preheated oven and cook for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the chicken drumsticks are tender and the meat easily falls off the bone.
- Once cooked, remove the pot from the oven and let the chicken drumsticks cool slightly in the oil.
- If desired, you can crisp up the skin by transferring the drumsticks to a baking sheet and broiling them for a few minutes until the skin is golden and crispy. Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning.
- Serve the chicken leg confit hot, either on its own or with your choice of side dishes like roasted potatoes, sautéed vegetables, or a fresh salad.
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Israeli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Gift from the Holy Land (16.9 Oz)
Tramontina Fry Pan Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad 12-inch, 80116/007DS
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 416Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 116mgSodium 638mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 22g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.