Decadently French: Confit chicken

Only the French could make something as pedestrian as chicken decadently delicious.

Confit is a traditional way of preserving meats, primarily, by slow cooking in fat, then packing cooked meats and fat in a sealed container to the meats keeps for months instead of days.

So far, so pragmatic.

The thing is, they don’t just use any old fat. They use duck fat. And holy hell is it delicious! The flavour of the duck goes deep into the chicken, making it a country mile from your common or garden slow cooked chook.

My lovely friends at L’Authentique have developed their own confit range, which includes a truly delectable chicken. I’ve given you two ways to use the confit below: the first, a traditional confit leg with duck fat roast potatoes; the second, a confit risotto.

Deliciously decadent.

CONFIT CHICKEN WITH DUCK FAT ROAST POTATOES
Serves 42017-06-15 16.33.58 v1

4 confit chicken legs
4 large agria potatoes
Green salad to serve

  1. Remove chicken from the packet, keeping aside duck fat and chicken stock
  2. Heat the oven to 210°C
  3. Peel potatoes and chop into either chips or 4cm chunks, whichever you prefer
  4. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and salt liberally. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and allow to dry slightly.
  5. Take 4 tablespoons of duck fat and heat in a roasting dish. When the fat is melted and hot, toss the partially cooked  potatoes in the fat and then put into the oven for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, turning occasionally during cooking.
  6. Heat another tablespoon of duck fat in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the chicken legs and cook until skin is browned and crisp (about 10 minutes). Turn over and repeat on the other side.
  7. Serve one chicken leg per person with roast potatoes and salad on the side.

 

CONFIT CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Serves 4

2017-06-16 09.35.36 v12 tablespoons oil or duck fat
4 rashers bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
350g abrorio rice
¼ cup white wine
1.5 litre chicken stock
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 confit chicken legs, bones removed and meat shredded
A knob of butter
Salt/pepper to taste
1 cup grated parmesan
Bunch parsley, leaves chopped

  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a large pan over a medium heat
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil or fat in another large heavy based casserole dish
  3. Add bacon and cook until crisp and well browned
  4. Add onion, celery, garlic and thyme and cook until onion is soft and translucent
  5. Sprinkle over rice and stir to combine, until rice grains are coated in oil and glistening.
  6. Pour over wine and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  7. When wine is almost absorbed, begin adding stock, one ladle at a time until rice is creamy and al dente (the final risotto should be fairly liquid). Stir throughout the process.
  8. Halfway through cooking the risotto, add the mushrooms and stir to combine.
  9. Once the rice is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat, add the chicken and butter and stir.
  10. Season to taste, and stir through parsley just prior to serving.
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Sausage Simplicity: L’Authentique Chorizo and Prawns with Spicy Tomato Sauce

I have to fess up here: the highly talented Bunny Eats Design was the inspiration for this recipe and deserves credit. 2017-05-04 09.57.27 v1

This is a great recipe that Genie has developed, and I have messed with, as I do. It features L’Authentique Chorizo sausage, but if they don’t sell these where you live, any other good quality fresh chorizo would work equally well.

This is a super simple dinner to pull together, perfect for a week night family meal.

 

L’AUTHENTIQUE CHORIZO AND PRAWNS WITH SPICY TOMATO SAUCE

2017-05-04 11.00.07 v14 x L’Authentique Chorizo Sausages or 1 pack of French Grind, formed into approx. 25 small meatballs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 red capsicum, deseeded, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
2 Teaspoons hot smoked paprika
440g can crushed tomatoes
20 cooked and peeled prawns
Bunch coriander or parsley, chopped
Salt/pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Cook sausages or meatballs until just cooked. Remove from pan and set aside. Slice sausages into 1cm pieces if using.
  2. Reheat pan over medium heat. Add onions and capsicum and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until onions are soft.
  3. Add garlic and paprika and cook for another minute.
  4. Pour over tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.
  5. Return sausages to the pan with prawns, and cook until heated through.
  6. Stir through coriander or parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice or warmed crusty bread.

Stolen Recipes: Hainanese Chicken Rice

The first time I ate Hainanese Chicken Rice was at a birthday party for my sister. A Chinese friend and I had voluteered to create dinner for 12 or so of us. I can’t remember what I cooked, but I do remember he cooked Hainanese Chicken Rice. I have to say I was very worried about how bland it would be – chicken poached skin on with rice cooked in the chicken stock has a very uniform colour (ie. beige), but the flavour is sensational. It is comfort food at it’s best, and when eaten with chilli and coriander and other condiments, takes it to new levels of deliciousness.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is classic Malaysian/Singaporean hawker food. Wikipedia says:

“Hainanese chicken rice is a dish adapted from early Chinese immigrants originally from Hainan province in southern China. It is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore…Catherine Ling of CNN describes Hainanese chicken rice as one of the “40 Singapore foods we can’t live without”. It also listed at number 45 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011.

The recipe I used is from a book we received as a wedding present 15 years ago! At this time, I just liked the way it looked and haven’t really cooked from it a great deal but have recently found it to be a mine of information about Asian cooking across the board. Which I guess you’d expect given the title – Encyclopedia of Asian Food: The Definitive Guide to Asian Cookery by Charmaine Solomon. I had wondered whether it might be out of print, but it appears to still be available on Amazon, re-released in 2010. I’ve adapted this recipe and added some elements from a recipe I found on Gourmet Traveller, which you can find here.

It feels like there’s heaps to do here, but given much of the time is just waiting for the chicken and rice to cook, it’s not that labour intensive. Traditionally it’s paired with some coriander and fresh cucumber, but I felt I needed some acid to compliment the dish, so I made some quick pickled cucumbers, as below.

HAINANESE CHICKEN RIC2016-11-15-19-04-22

1 whole free range chicken
Salt
2-3 spring fresh coriander
15g fresh ginger, bashed with the side of a knife to bruise
3 spring onions, chopped
2 Tbsp salt

For the rice:
500g long grain rice (I used basmati, GT recommends Jasmine)
2 Tbsp peanut oil or canola oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
5 chopped shallots (or 1 onion, finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sliced ginger

For the sauce:
100ml stock from cooking chicken
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

  1. Rub the bird inside and out with salt.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring 4 litres of water to the boil with the coriander, first portion of ginger, spring onions and salt.
  3. Gently lower the chicken into the boiling water breast side down until the chicken is completely submerged. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then cover tightly, turn the heat off completely and let the chicken cook in the residual heat for 40-45 minutes or until completely cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, wash the rice and drain thoroughly.
  5. Heat the oils in a large pan with a heavy base. Add garlic, ginger and shallots and fry, stirring until cooked and fragrant. Do not brown.
  6. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring, until the rice grains are coated with oil.
  7. Pour over 4 cups of stock from the chicken and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, stir, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cook, covered for another 10 minutes.
  8. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  9. Remove chicken from stock and cut into bite sized pieces. Serve with the rice and sauce, extra coriander leaves, chilli sauce, sesame or chilli oil, pickled cucumber and steamed vegetables.

QUICK PICKLED CUCUMBER

1/2 telegraph cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Add cucumber and toss gently to combine
  3. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse then serve.

Asian Braised Pork Belly

This is one of those dishes that impresses people more than it should. That is to say, it’s very straight forward to make, but it tastes delicious and looks fantastic on the plate.

The pork belly is cooked long and slow, so the Chinese/Japanese flavours of ginger, soy and garlic cut through the richness of the meat. The remaining stock is then used to cook brown rice with mushrooms, risotto style.

All you need is to add some steamed greens (bok choy, asparagus, broccoli or whatever takes your fancy), and dinner’s served. This recipe serves four, but it’s easy to scale up should you need to feed more people.

ASIAN BRAISED PORK WITH MUSHROOM AND BROWN RICE RISOTTO2016-11-10 20.36.43.jpg

For the pork:
800g boneless free range pork belly (approx 200g per person. It will shrink during cooking)
2 Tbsp canola or other flavourless oil
1 litre chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine (sake or similar. At a pinch you can use sherry)
3 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 whole star anise

For the risotto:
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 spring onions, whites and greens separated, whites chopped finely
250g brown rice
500ml chicken stock
50g mixed asian mushrooms chopped (eg. shitake, oyster, etc)

To compile:
100g mushrooms extra (I used portabello)
Green part of the spring onions finely sliced lengthwise

  1. Cut pork belly into 5cm pieces
  2. Heat canola oil in a large deep frying pan or casserole dish with lid
  3. Fry pork belly in the pan until well browned. Remove and set aside
  4. Reduce heat and add first portion of chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, ginger and star anise to the pan. Bring to the boil, then return pork to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 2 hours or until meat is very tender.
  5. Remove pork from the pan and set aside. Pour remaining stock into a measuring jug and set aside.
  6. Heat second portion of canola oil in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add garlic and white parts of the spring onions, and saute until spring onions have softened (this should only take about 30 seconds)
  7. Add brown rice and stir for about 2 minutes.
  8. Pour over 500ml chicken stock and 500ml of the leftover pork stock. Add chopped mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Cook until much of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just tender.
  9. Heat the remaining 500ml of pork stock in a large frying pan. Add second portion of mushrooms and spring onions, and return pork to the pan until heated through.
  10. Ladle the risotto onto deep plates, top with the pork, and spoon over mushrooms and spring onions. Reduce the remaining stock slightly, then pour over the top. Serve with steamed greens.