I love duck confit but I’ve never made it; in fact I tend to avoid making anything involving duck since it makes the oven filthy (or, at least, fatty) for the next six months and if there is one thing I don’t like cleaning it’s an oven. So I was delighted to discover a recipe for chicken confit: same crisp skin contrasted with soft, squidgy flesh; same gloriously simple and concentrated flavour; same sense of guilty pleasure without the greasy pain of scouring. This recipe, if you can call it that, comes from a now out-of-print book called The Impoverished Gastronome. Having been sacked the author, David Chater, decided to write a book for people like him: ‘a sort of mean cuisine’. And in order to do so he interviewed many famous and not-so-famous chefs in London for dinner ideas that would feed six for a tenner. Now, I must add that the book dates from 1996, which means that, taking inflation into account, his tenner works out at somewhere between £15-£20 in 2011 terms. Even then, though, that’s less than a fiver per head, which is brilliant value in most of the UK and the price of a fancy sandwich in London. And since this recipe comes from the stable of Mark Hix and Tim Hughes, then at Le Caprice, now at Hix and Le Caprice respectively, making it yourself saves you rather more than a fiver…
For two you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may have)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove
15g (about a tablespoonful) plain flour
4-500g chicken pieces (legs, drumsticks etc but definitely not any maudlin skinny fillets or breasts) or joint a whole chicken and freeze/use the rest later
Some kind of zingy green salad to go with it (rocket or watercress would be good)
1. Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C/gas 3.
2. Peel then chop the garlic clove very finely.
3. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl with the garlic, a bit of salt and pepper and the flour. Turn it round in the bowl with your hands so that the chicken is evenly covered with the seasoning and flour.
4. Put the chicken in a roasting tin and roast for an hour to 90 minutes, basting from time to time with the fat in the tin. When it’s crisp and golden and its juices run clear it’s done. I defy you not to eat it very quickly, with your fingers, biting every last scrap off the bones.