“Admittedly, this dish is quite confronting to look at but once you get past the dramatic colouring, you will discover a rather wonderful piece of poultry. In Australia you can find black chickens (silkies) frozen at some Asian grocers and butchers, but otherwise you can substitute it with a standard commercial breed, if necessary.” Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Singapore
- 10 black chicken legs (drumstick and thigh, feet on)
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp rendered chicken fat
- 1 whole fresh black truffle
Onion and chicken bone glaze
- 2 kg chicken bones
- 2 brown onions
- 10 cm piece white radish (daikon), peeled
- 1 long fresh red chilli, seeds removed
- 5 cm piece young ginger, peeled
- 1 bunch chives
- 3 tbsp rendered chicken fat
- 3 cups flattened rice flakes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To prepare the chicken, debone the chicken leg but keep the foot, ankle and skin intact. Clean well. Remove the thigh meat and trim any excess thigh skin. Slide a skewer underneath the leg meat and carefully remove the tendon. Flatten out the legs, skin-side down, and place a piece of thigh meat on top to replace the bulk of the bone which you’ve removed. Season with salt, then roll each leg lengthways into a firm ballotine. Wrap each leg in plastic wrap to form a tight cylinder, then secure each end with a strip of plastic wrap to create a tight seal. Cook in a sous vide or water bath heated to 62˚C for 5 hours. Remove and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process.
Meanwhile, to make the glaze, preheat the oven to 200˚C. Place the bones and onions in a deep baking dish and roast for 30 minutes or until evenly browned. Transfer to a large saucepan, add enough water to cover, then bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the stock, discard the solids, then transfer to a clean saucepan and simmer over low heat until reduced to a thick syrup. Reheat just before serving.
To make the condiments, make a deep incision lengthways down the side of the piece of daikon, then push a sliver of chilli inside (this makes it easier to grate the chilli). Finely grate the daikon and chilli together, then using your hands, squeeze out the excess moisture. Finely grate the ginger and finely chop the chives.
Just before serving, heat a little of the chicken fat in a large frying pan over medium heat. Unwrap the poached chicken legs, pat dry and fry until light golden and crisp all over.
Meanwhile, to make the crispy rice, heat the chicken fat in another large frying pan over medium heat. Add the rice flakes and stir for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the heat, season with salt and set aside.
To serve, divide the chicken and toasted rice flakes among serving plates, then pour a little glaze over the chicken. Using a truffle shaver (see Note), shave truffle all over the chicken pieces, then garnish with a small pile each of chives, ginger and chilli radish.
• Truffle shavers are available in most good kitchen stores.
Image by Tan Zexun.