For Daniel’s early birthday meal I cooked Chuck Hughes’ Fried Chicken Confit with Waffles out of his Garde Manger book (named after his restaurant in Montreal that I can’t WAIT to go to… in my dreams, where I go to celebrity restaurants and eat deep-fried lobster). Chicken and waffles is one of Daniel’s favourite dishes but one that I have never been able to eat with him because it consists of: fried chicken, waffles, and gravy. Gluten city.
I thought it might be complicated because I’ve never confited anything before. Confitted? Confat? Not sure. But it sounded fancy. The hardest thing turned out to be finding duck fat in Nanaimo to cook with. I called the only butcher I know on the morning before dinner and asked if they carried it. He said yup, it came in frozen blocks, and it was cheap. Perfect. Drove to butcher, no duck fat. No one would cop to promising the crazy lady her duck fat. Finally a guy came out from the back of the store and said, “It was me, and I thought you said BACK fat! Hahahaha!”
After that it was quite easy. You just need to give yourself lots of time.
First you do a dry-brine thing for around 4 hours. Chill.
Then you rinse your chicken off, dump out your brine, and replace that brine with melted duck fat. A whooole lotta duck fat. Cook for 3-4 hours on low heat, and you’ll get this:
Take your chicken out of the fat using tongs and throw it on some paper towel, strain your fat so you can freeze it and confit something else some other time.
After that it’s pretty standard: flour-egg-flour the chicken, fry it in my super McDonalds deep-fryer (out on the deck, in case it expodes)(not sure why I think that could happen, that’s my mom for you). Made the gravy: ridiculous ratio of butter, reduced white wine, and reduced chicken broth. For the waffles, I didn’t use Chuck’s recipe exactly because I didn’t want them to have that limp or chewy texture (a risk you can sometimes run by substituting flours straight across when making pancakes or waffles). Instead I used the gluten-free Bisquick and followed their waffle recipe, replacing the oil with melted butter and adding ¼ cup sour cream (as per Chuck). They came out light and crispy. Dinner was served.
Any other time I’ve ever said “wow, that’s really good,” I didn’t know what I was talking about. This was so good. This makes me doubt all the other things I go through my life thinking are really-really-good, and wonder, what else am I missing here? I’m gonna be confitting my cereal.
Forget the caramelized bacon. Forget the buttermilk pecan fudge. This is the final word in flavour (except for don’t forget those things completely because they’re also delicious and variety is the spice of life).