Yields 4 servings/Time 3 hours plus overnight
Confit is a French word meaning to preserve. It is a method that involves cooking meat in fat for a long time at a low temperature. The finished meat can be stored, submerged in fat, for several months — this is how we did it before Tupperware and vacuum-sealing. For this recipe, you’ll salt-cure chicken thighs overnight, then cook them in rendered fat in the oven with whole garlic cloves and fresh thyme for 3 hours at a low temperature. Meanwhile, you can start what is sure to be your favorite part of the meal, the root vegetable purée, consisting of rutabaga, parsnips, and carrots seasoned with fresh sage and maple syrup. Serve chicken thighs atop a portion of the vegetable puree.
You will need:
1 package bone-out chicken thighs (approximately 1 pound)
4 cups rendered fat (lard, duck fat, or beef tallow)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 lemon, zested
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper
- Make a cure by combining salt, brown sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Rub the chicken thighs with the cure. Place thighs in a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 250 F. Meanwhile, heat rendered fat in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat until completely liquid.
- Remove chicken thighs from the fridge and rinse the cure off them. Pat dry, then gently add thighs to the heated fat. Add garlic and thyme. Slowly increase heat until small bubbles form in the fat on the bottom of the pot, then cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 3 hours.
- When the thighs have been in the oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes, cook parsnips, rutabaga, and carrots in a large pot on the stovetop over medium heat with heavy cream and milk. Let simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables can be mashed with a fork.
- Strain the vegetables and reserve the liquid. Puree the vegetables in four batches in a large blender. For each batch, add a little cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon of butter, and chopped sage.
- When everything is pureed, stir in maple syrup and cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, plate two thighs with a large spoonful of vegetable mash.