You could use poultry fat such as goose or duck (available from good delis), chicken or a well-flavoured oil. We use pork fat because that’s what we have on hand. The fat will keep if refrigerated for a month and can be re-used, or used to roast spuds.
The confit is delicious served with lots of roasted pumpkin and a chestnut and potato puree. Or you can strip the meat from the bone and toss through fresh pappardelle with roughly mashed roast pumpkin.
- 4 chicken marylands
- 50 g salt
- 1 bunch sage
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 600 ml pork fat or full-flavoured oil, melted
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.
Marinating time 24 hrs, cooking time 2-4hrs
1. Place the chicken in a small non-reactive tray such as glass or plastic and sprinkle all over with the salt. Add half the sage leaves and half the peppercorns. Cover with plastic wrap and place a heavy item on top to weigh the chicken down, then refrigerate for 24 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
3. Remove any undissolved salt, then place the chicken into a small ovenproof dish. Scatter over the remaining sage, peppercorns and garlic, then pour over enough fat to cover the chicken. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, or a piece of baking paper and foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 ˚C and cook for another 1 ½ hours or until the flesh is tender enough to leap off the bone. There should be virtually no bubbling of the oil as it cooks. The cooking time will vary depending on the breed and age of your chicken - our old breed chook took 4 hours.
4. To serve, preheat the grill to high. Remove the chicken from the fat, then strain and reserve the fat for another use. Pat dry the chicken really well on paper towel, then place skin-side up on a baking tray and cook under the grill until the skin is golden and crisp.
Photography by Tim Thatcher