Chicken Confit

If you’re having a small gathering for Thanksgiving, or baking a turkey is a little too intimidating, here’s an alternative for Thanksgiving that I enjoy for many reasons. Chicken confit offers extraordinary flavor with minimal effort.  It can be prepared days in advance, and you simply reheat and crisp on Thanksgiving Day.  The confit chicken has a texture that is succulent and it is topped with a crisp skin.   And how about that infused oil that is poured off after the chicken is braised?  Dress up your roasted veggies by tossing them in this flavorful oil. Add this infused oil along with some of the caramelized garlic into your whipped potatoes for an incredible flavor boost.   Be sure to whip up the caramelized garlic cloves and beautifully baked thyme sprigs into a versatile vinaigrette.  Pour the vinaigrette on salads, marinate roasted veggies and slather it on sandwiches with thanksgiving leftovers. If you don't make chicken confit for Thanksgiving, make time to enjoy this dish with family and friend as you celebrate the spirit of the holiday season.  

Chicken Confit

Servings: 8

2 ½-3 cups olive oil

30 thyme sprigs

20 garlic cloves

4 ½-5 lbs. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

kosher salt

fresh cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

8 bay leaves

Special equipment: 9x13 baking dish and a rimmed baking sheet

 

1. Preheat oven to 275°F. 

2. Pour just enough olive oil in dish to lightly coat bottom.  Arrange a few springs of thyme and a few garlic cloves on bottom of dish and set aside.

3. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and dried thyme and nestle into baking dish, skin side down. 

4. Arrange garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and bay leaves on chicken.  Pour remaining oil in dish until chicken is submerged. Set dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 2 hours.  You’ll notice garlic beginning to caramelize and chicken beginning to release fat.  Turn chicken skin side up and bake until chicken is cooked through and yields easily to the tines of a fork, 1-2 hours.  

5. Pour off infused oil and reserve for another use. 

6. In a large skillet, heat 2-3 Tablespoons infused oil on medium-high.  Working in batches, transfer chicken to skillet, skin side down and cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.  Arrange on serving dish skin side up, garnish with cooked thyme sprigs and caramelized garlic and serve.

Do Ahead: Chicken can be baked, but not crisped 3 days ahead.  Bring to room temperature and reheat at 300°F before crisping. 

Garlic & Thyme Vinaigrette

The infused oil can dress up your roasted veggies.  Why not toss a few of the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and the infused oil in a blender to make the most flavorful vinaigrette?  Serve on your favorite salad greens.

Servings: ½ cup

2 Tbsp confit garlic

4 confit thyme sprigs, stems removed

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

1. In a blender, blend the garlic, thyme leaves, vinegar and mustard until well blended. 

2. With the blender running on low speed, pour the oil into the blender.  Increase speed to high and blend until emulsified. 

Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature and rewhisk before using salad.