I’m not even going to crack and ‘which came first’ jokes, because this dish is relatively simple and everyone should try it to fully understand how delicious it truly is. Flipping through the Momofuku cookbook, there were several recipes that I immediately thought to myself, “Wow that looks good, I have to try that ASAP”, and this dish was right up there at the top.
–Prepare Brine: 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup salt, 8 cups water
–Brine Chicken thighs(Bone removed, Skin on), for 1-6 hours
-Put chicken thighs in an oven safe container, cover with either pork or duck fat(I used duck), and add in a few pieces of smoky bacon (Key word: Smoky)
-Leave in the oven at 80C for 50 minutes.
-Heat a skillet, oil it, then lay the chicken thigh down, skin side first. Press the chicken down with a heavy pan(to keep it flat so that the skin browns evenly)
-Let it crisp for 3-4 minutes, remove immediately
-Serve with Sous vide egg(54C for 1 hr), and quick pickled cucumbers
Meat was delicious, the brine brought out the natural sweetness of the chicken, with a tinge of smokyness from the bacon. Cooking the meat confit style gave the chicken an unctuous mouthfeel, yet despite this, it wasn’t too heavy, something you could eat alot of(well, I could). The rich, creamy yolk of the sous vide egg is nicely balanced by the quick pickled cucumbers. I topped it off with some of Momofuku’s ‘Octo Vin’ sauce, which when eaten together with the chicken, gave it a sudden burst of freshness and acidity. I’m also convinced that there are not alot of things that the Octo Vin sauce don’t go well with, but thats another story.
There isn’t much to say because truthfully, there aren’t alot of things I dislike about it. It should be noted that all bones should be carefully removed from the thigh to ensure that the meat is cooked evenly. Because it is cooked at a fairly low temperature and I had a piece of chicken that had a small bone stuck in it, when I cut into it, it was quite bloody in that area. Proper technique should also be used to get the skin really nice and crisp (Heavy Iron skillet, high heat, weighed down)
One of the first thoughts that ran through my head was how to turn this into a sous vide recipe. I dont think it would be that difficult, and it would save on a lot of fat. Smokyness could either be incorporated into the chicken by adding liquid smoke to the brine, or heating the duck fat then placing smoky bacon into it, and allowing it to infuse in the fat, before vacuum sealing with the chicken. Other flavours could possibly be infused into the chicken, but I think this is simple comfort food at its best.