Make confit chicken /
SERVES 6 /PREPARATION 10 MINUTES PLUS SALTING OVERNIGHT / COOKING 2 HOURS
Traditionally the confit process was a way of preserving meat; the meat was salted then poached in fat enabling it to be stored long term. We mostly associate duck or goose with the confit method, however the process is adaptable; fish and chicken also work well, especially when the confit uses oil. The cooked chicken can keep in the oil for up to a week, and the oil can be reused for other dishes.
3 tablespoons (45g) coarse sea salt 6 chicken Marylands (approx 900g-1kg) 2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
½ teaspoon black peppercorns a few sprigs of thyme approx 2 cups oil (I used a mix of
extra virgin and sunflower oils)
Sprinkle half the salt into a nonreactive container, place the chicken pieces in a single layer, add the remaining salt, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day rinse the chicken, pat dry with paper towels and put into a container that fits the chicken pieces snugly in a single layer. Add the bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and thyme. Cover with enough oil to submerge the chicken. Preheat the oven 120°C. Cook the chicken for two hours, then allow to cool in the oil. To use, remove from the oil allowing any excess oil to drain off, fry skin side down until golden, then turn over and cook until heated through (or finish cooking in the oven).
The chicken can be kept for up to a week in the oil. The oil can also be used to add flavour to other dishes, but keep it refrigerated and use within a week or two.
CHICKEN & WATERCRESS POT PIE
SERVES 4-6 / PREPARATION 30 MINUTES / COOKING 35-40 MINUTES
3 tablespoons oil from confit
1 leek, finely sliced
1 celery stick, chopped
6 cloves garlic from confit, skin removed 3 cups root vegetables, cut into
1½ cm dice (kumara, carrot, potato, parsnip, celeriac etc. I sometimes include butternut too.) 4 tablespoons flour (add a little extra
if you prefer a thicker sauce) 1 teaspoon dried tarragon 500ml chicken stock
2 confit chicken Marylands, meat
shredded from bone
2 cups watercress, roughly chopped 1 sheet butter puff pastry egg wash or milk
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Heat the oil in large saucepan, add the leek and celery and cook until soft. Add the garlic and root vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the flour and tarragon and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the stock and bring to a boil, ensuring there are no lumps, add the chicken and cook gently for 20 minutes to cook the flour and thicken the liquid. Stir through the watercress.
Put into a baking dish, cover with pastry, crimp the edges and make slits into the pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg wash or milk and bake until the pastry is golden, approximately 35-40 minutes. Serve with a watercress and radish salad.
CHICKEN & WATERCRESS POT PIE