One of the best ways to cook pastured poultry! This recipes works for chicken halves, legs, quarters, and skin on breasts. Pairs well with some sweet potatoes or squash. Confit is a classic french preservation technique that has been used for hundreds of years. The process involves cooking meat at a low temperature submerged in fat. The fat helps seal in flavor while the long cooking time breaks down collagen into gelatin, tenderizing the meat. The meat can be stored for months inside the cooking fat in a cool, dry place!
- 1 half chicken, skin on
- 1/2 T Kosher salt
- 3-4 lbs pork fat
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 garlic bulb, minced
- The day before cooking: dry brine the chicken. Pat chicken dry on all sides, including under the wings. Season both sides with salt and place in the fridge covered for 12-24 hrs.
- On the morning of cooking day, chop pork fat into smaller chunks using kitchen scissors or a knife.
- Render lard by heating the fat on low heat in a pot on the stovetop. Heat until completely melted down (about 4-6 hrs) Mix frequently. There should be a light simmering.
- Strain rendered hard through a fine sieve and pour into jars. As the fat renders, crispy cracklings will form and rise to the surface. These can be eaten sprinkled with salt.
- Preheat oven to 225ºF. Remove chicken from fridge, rinse lightly under cold water, and pat dry. Place chicken into a dutch oven or oven-safe pot. Add rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
- Pour in lard until chicken is covered (the remaining lard can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for future use). Cook in oven for 6 hrs, until the chicken reaches 165ºF.
- If eating right away: use tongs to remove chicken from the pot and place onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet on top of an oven-safe wire rack and place inside the oven near the top. Broil for 2-5 mins to crisp up the skin. Watch the chicken closely to avoid burning. The amount of time varies depending on distance from the burner.
- If you don't plan to consume the chicken right away: cut the chicken into parts (thigh, leg, breast), place in a large mason jar, and cover it with the liquid lard. Place plastic wrap on the top of the mason jar and screw the cap tightly. The chicken will keep covered in the fridge for a few months!