Confit is a French cooking method where food is cooked in oil over low heat for long periods of time to produce tender meat enrobed in flavorful fat. Duck confit is the most famous rendition of this cooking method, but the process also works for other poultry such as the humble chicken.
Confit isn’t just a decadent way to enjoy chicken or poultry, it’s also an ideal cooking method for busy weeks when there just isn’t time to spend hours each night on dinner. Confit chicken, if cooked correctly, will keep for several days in the fridge meaning you can grab a few pieces of chicken each night, sear them for a few minutes or shred them and serve with your favorite cooked sides, pasta, or salads.
Ingredients and Tools
- Chicken pieces (4-8 pieces)
- Whole garlic cloves
- 1 large onion or 4 shallots
- Fresh Herbs (sage, thyme, and rosemary all work well)
- Suvie or a slow cooker
- A resealable plastic bag
- A cast-iron pan
Pat dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel. Season generously (we used about 1 tbsp kosher salt for four pieces of chicken) with salt and pepper.
Peel the garlic cloves and crush them with the flat end of a chef’s knife (you can use the bottom of a mug or a plate if you don’t have a chef’s knife).
Place the chicken pieces in a large sealable freezer bag along with the garlic and fresh herbs.
Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal. Work the chicken between your fingers for a bit to make sure that the seasoning and herbs are making contact with the chicken.
Place the bag in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
After 12 hours remove the herbs and garlic from the bag and put aside for later. Remove the chicken from the bag and rinse.
Dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
Peel and thinly slice the onion or shallots.
Place the chicken pieces in a Suvie pan. Place the garlic, herbs, and onions or shallots on top of the chicken. Pour the oil into the pan being sure to coat the chicken pieces. Place in the upper right cooking zone.
Add water to the reservoir, enter the Slow Cook settings and cook.
Slow Cook Settings
Protein: Low, 4 hours
Starch: 0 minutes
After the cook, remove the foil from both pans.
Finishing with Suvie
Remove the chicken pieces from the oil. Drain the oil (you can keep this and use it for cooking). Clean the pan. Return the chicken to the pan skin side up and place the pan in your Suvie. Set to broil for 10 minutes to crisp the skin, watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Slow Cooker Instructions
Place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker pot.
Add the garlic, herbs, onions (or shallots) and cover with oil. Make sure to completely submerge the chicken in oil to ensure it cooks evenly.
Cook the chicken:
Low for 3 hours
High for 2 hours
Once the chicken has cooked it can either be stored in the refrigerator or cooked immediately.
Finishing in a pan
Remove the chicken pieces from the oil. Strain the oil and keep for later.
Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add some of the confit oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot place the chicken skin side down in the pan. Once the skin has browned flip and cook the other side for a few minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
Recipes to try
Garlic Confit Chicken with Braised Carrots
Can I use any type of oil?
You can, however, some oils work better than others. Traditionally, confit is made using duck fat. Duck fat will produce a rich-tasting confit however it’s not the most economical choice. We used a 50/50 mix of olive oil (extra virgin or light) and vegetable oil and the resulting chicken was wonderfully flavorful. You can use only olive oil if you prefer however, the flavor of the oil may completely overpower the chicken.
How long can can I store confit chicken
Depending on the type of oil used, confit chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for between one and three weeks. If using olive or vegetable oil you can safely store the chicken for a week. Chicken cooked in duck fat will keep for three weeks (in a sealed container) provided the chicken is completely submerged.
Can I use any chicken pieces?
Of course! In our experience thighs, drumsticks, and whole legs works best but you can use breasts and wings as well.