Introduction: Slow Cooker Chicken Confit
I remember the days when the word “confit” was a rare treat I could only order at a fancy restaurant. Those were sad days. Luckily, my never-ending culinary curiosity led me to research how to make my own confit at home. I was surprised at how easy it was and how decadent and useful the results were.
Wether you’re making duck, chicken, garlic, or anything confit, the final product will keep in the fridge for several days and up to 3 weeks, (depending on the type of fat you use), supplying you with incredibly delicious weeknight meals ready in minutes. Of course, duck fat renders fantastic results and keeps the longest, but I have found that two common pantry staples mixed together, olive and canola oil, work just as well and are much easier to work with and not to mention cheaper. I also really like using chicken thighs for several reasons: They are less fatty than duck, but taste almost as rich when cooked confit style, the dark meat of the thighs falls right off the bone and is easily shreddable, you can fit more thighs in the pan using a minimal amount of oil, and, once again, they are MUCH cheaper.
The whole process takes a couple of days, but the actual hands on time is very short. Just throw the brine on the chicken on day 1 and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, rinse the chicken and pat dry, place in a roasting pan or slow cooker, add aromatics, cover with oil, and cook low and slow for 6 or 8 hours. Let cool and place back into the fridge until ready to use. Covered in the oil, the chicken has lasted me for up to a week, though it never makes it that long :)
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
- 6 to 8skin on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with a knife
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil (or enough to cover chicken)
- 2 cups canola oil (or enough to cover the chicken)
Special Equipment: Slow Cooker
Step 2: THE DAY BEFORE COOKING: Season Chicken
THE DAY BEFORE COOKING:
If chicken is wet, pat it dry so spices adhere easily. Season thighs evenly on both sides with the kosher salt and pepper.
Step 3: Place Chicken and Aromatics in Ziplock Bag
Place chicken thighs into a gallon size Zipock bag (or a large dish or bowl), add the smashed garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. The benefit of the bag is that it uses up the smallest amount of space and is much easier to fit in the fridge. Also, you can easily rearrange the chicken in the bag so it gets evenly flavored by the garlic and herbs, without having to open up the dish and dirty up another utensil.
Step 4: Seal Bag and Marinate in Fridge
Close bag, squeezing all the air out. Use your hand to mix ingredients slightly, so they are dispersed somewhat evenly. Place in fridge (I like to rest the bag on a small plate) for at least 12 hours or, preferably, overnight. If possible, at some point mix the chicken up slightly to move the garlic and herbs around.
Step 5: DAY OF COOKING: Rinse Chicken
On the day of cooking:
Remove the chicken from the bag and place in a colander, reserving the aromatics. Rinse to get some of the salt off and pat dry very well.
Step 6: Cover Chicken With Aromatics and Oil
Place the rinsed chicken in the slow cooker.
Disperse all the aromatics you used when brining. Add rosemary, if using, and scatter the sliced onion over. Add a 50/50 mixture of olive oil and canola oil until the chicken is completely submerged. It has to be totally covered with the oil, or it will not cook evenly.
Step 7: Slow Cook the Chicken
Cook the chicken on low for 3 hours, then increase heat and cook on high for another 2 hours.
Step 8: Remove Chicken and Store
Let the chicken and slow cooker come to room temperature.
You can pull out some thighs right away if you want to use them immediately, or cover and place in the fridge. It might be easier to move the thighs to another bowl, just make sure they are always submerged in the oil and covered tightly. The chicken will keep for 5 or 6 days.
Also, strain the oil and reserve to fry the chicken in it, or other foods like potatoes. The oil is a golden side benefit of this recipe! Super flavored with all the aromatics and the chicken juices. Seriously DO NOT DISCARD IT!!
Step 9: How to Use Chicken Confit
When you want to use the chicken, just remove the desired amount and fry in the reserved oil, starting skin side down over medium heat. Let the skin get really golden before flipping, so it doesn't stick.
Or shred the chicken with two forks, it will shred very easily and melt in your mouth. SO GOOD!!!
Step 10: Recipe Ideas
After getting the skin nice and golden, I suggest serving the chicken confit with a light and crunchy salad. Chicken Confit tastes a bit richer than regular chicken, so a refreshing salad with a bright citrus vinaigrette and some kick from either arugula or watercress pairs very well.
Or mix in some BBQ sauce and make my CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza Copycat recipe, also on here Instructables. This Chicken Confit recipe is PERFECT for pizza!!!
And I'd love to hear some of your ideas of how to use this scrumptious melt in your mouth chicken.
This is an entry in the
Slow Cooker Challenge
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How long can you keep the oil since it was used it to cook the chicken in?
Great question. If you use the oil to store the chicken, then I would discard any oil if you've been storing chicken for over 5 days. But if you're using all the chicken at once the day of cooking it or only storing in the oil for a day or even two, I would feel safe using the strained oil for frying over the next 5 days. Hope that helps :)