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Poultry Thighs Confit

Poultry Thighs: Aromatic Cure Confit Plus Sous Vide

By Tim

For years I have enjoyed duck confit whenever I see it on a menu.  A neighbor spent a week bicycling through the Loire Valley and had duck confit at every restaurant they visited for lunch.  Yes, it is a wonderful treat.

I have also experimented with many ways to prepare and cook confit.  The traditional recipes specify curing the meat (pork, duck, goose, turkey or chicken) with coarse salt, pepper, thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  The length of the cure is typically 6 to 12 hours.  The meat is then poached slowly in a pan of 200°F fat to cover until the meat is almost fork tender.  It is important to understand that the cooking fat does not penetrate the meat; in fact, only the salt actually penetrates the meat.

Within the last three years, confit recipes have evolved to include onions and alliums that are processed before curing.  The processing and longer curing time amps up the flavor since the liquid in the aromatics have an opportunity to penetrate and flavor the meat.  The newer methods also call for sous vide with a small amount of fat in a tightly sealed vacuum bag.

I have been experimenting and have come up with ways to improve and speed the aromatic curing.  I found the perfect answer by juicing aromatics before curing.

 

Curing ingredients for about 6 pounds of poultry legs:

       1 Large onion     (1 pound) juiced and strained

                                      Options: shallots, leeks, cipollines or scallions.

          1 Garlic head      Remove skin and juice the cloves

          4 Tbsp.                Kosher Salt for curing

          1 1/2 Tbsps.        Sugar (toasted sugar)

          2 tsps.                 Fresh ground pepper

 

Curing Procedures:

          Use a vegetable juicer to separate onion and garlic juice from the pulp.

Place onion/garlic juice in a bowl and mix salt, sugar and pepper and whisk to combine.  You may want to microwave the liquids to better dissolve the salt and sugar.

Place the meat to be cured in a strong plastic bag (Stasher silicone bags) and pour the cool mix on the meat to be cured.  Eliminate excess air in the bag and seal tightly.

Refrigerate the bag for a minimum of two days.

Before cooking, rinse the meat and dry.


Confit ingredients:

          6 pounds poultry thighs

          2 – 3 cups duck, chicken or vegetable fat

          Season as desired or under the skin with minced fresh herbs.


Sous Vide Confit Procedures: 

          Heat a stock pot of water to 145°F.  Install the sous vide machine and stabilize the temperature at 145°F.

          Place the thighs in Stasher bags with enough melted fat to cover.  Partially seal the bags and slowly lower into the water.  

          Seal the last corner to eliminate air from the sous vide bag.

          Continue temperature at 145°F.  If water level drops, you may top up with more water. 

          Check the internal temperature after two or three hours.  

         

          Alternative procedure for oven confit.

Set oven rack in middle and preheat to 200°F  

Select a braising pan (saucepan) that will just hold the meat in a single layer without excess space.  The goal is to cover all of the meat with the oil.

Place oil into the empty pan and slowly heat the oil to 170°F.

Add the meat skin side down and place in oven

Cook to an internal temp of 145°F, about 2 hours.

Remove the meat: Finish or refrigerate for a few days.


Finish and Serve the Meat:

              Finish meat in a hot 475°F oven for 10 minutes.

                   Internal temp should be at 155°F. with nicely browned skin.  

                   Separate fat from juices and serve.

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