I don't think I've ever communicated my love for chickens within this blog. Well - I LOVE CHICKENS. There, now you know. After reading Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and then watching Food Inc, I will forever only buy free range, pasture finished meat. Over sized chicken boobs for $1.99/lb? No thanks. I'll opt for paying a little more from a direct chicken farmer where I know the little chicadees are treated with some TLC. That place for me right now is Soul Food Farms. Every couple Wednesdays, I'll order and pick up my little fresh chicken and a dozen multicolored eggs ranging from a rich brown to baby blue, some even marked with the cutest freckles you've ever seen. For the first time last week, I also ordered 2 packets of their chicken confit which equates to 4 beautiful chicken legs that have been submerged in salt and warm duck fat then slowly cooked to practically perfection. When I pull it out of the fridge, all I have to do is put it on a skillet to crisp the skin - and voila, dinner is served. Need I say more? One day, when I garner enough duck fat from a place still unknown...I will attempt this fabulous feat of making my own delicious confit.
What else am I loving right now? Umm...grilled artichokes. Why? They're in season, they're fun to eat, and it's hard to replicate the rich nuttiness that naturally comes out of that tender heart. Grilling gives me an excuse to be outside during the warm spring evenings, not to mention that it adds an additional depth of flavor to whatever you end up putting on the grill. What else would I want to pair with the yummy confit?
Oh...maybe something a little lighter to balance out the richness of everything else. I didn't have any salad greens and I was too antsy to get started with dinner to take the time to go to the store after work. Jicama and broccoli is what I had in my fridge, so jicama and broccoli is what I ate. Light, crisp and cool - a perfect pairing with the confit.
Chicken Confit - 2 legs (serves 2-3 people)
Grilled Artichokes w/ Herb Lime Dressing & Shaved Parmesan
4 small to baby sized artichokes
Juice of one Lime
2 Tbs fresh herbs, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp honey
Salt/Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Jicama & Broccoli Salad
1/2 of a small jicama, diced
2 cups of broccoli florets
(uses the remaining dressing from the grilled artichokes)
Prepare the artichokes by cutting the tops off and trimming off the little leaves at the bottom. Steam then for 20-30 minutes until tender. In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the lime juice, herbs, and honey in a bowl and slowly add olive oil while whisking. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside
Using the same steamer as the artichoes, steam the broccoli florets for 3-4 minutes until tender. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool. Chop them up into little pieces and toss with the jicama, set aside
Heat the grill on high. Once the artichokes have cooled, slice in half lengthwise and gently remove the choke with a spoon if needed. Brush some of the dressing on each open half of the artichoke and put cut side down on the grill for 2-3 minutes or until brown.
As the artichokes are grilling, heat a sautee pan on medium-high heat, and place chicken confit skin side down for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is heated through and skin is crisp and brown.
To serve, toss the remaining dressing in with the jicama and broccoli. Salt and pepper the salad to taste. Shave parmesan over the top of the warm grilled artichokes and plate w/ crisped chicken confit.