Today I kept it simple on the side of prep work but still be able to combine various flavors.
I started off with some boneless chicken thighs which I stuffed with some pea-shoots and some cheddar. I folded the thighs over and made a rub of sweet paprika, ground mustard, salt, pepper, and wasabi powder. I put the thighs in an oven dish which I poured in a mixture of water-soy sauce and let cook in the oven.
While this was cooking, I made a “pancake” of millet, pea-shoots, egg, salt and pepper. I did this in my 8 inch pan with some grape-seed oil and cooked until slightly browned on each side. I then drizzled honey on the pancake (placed some on the side as well) and placed the chicken on top. With the earthy and spicy flavors found in both the pancake and on the chicken, the honey provided a refreshing contrast.
Sorry for the delay the past few days, was procrastinating with food since I was taking an online course in manual flash photography by Scott Robert Lim (check him out- AMAZING). That went from 12-7 so was busy during the dinner rush. I did come up with a quick chicken dish tonight though.
It is quite nice when in the morning I go in the freezer, take out a package, and by the evening I have a nice chicken breast defrosted (in this case it was stuffed with broccoli and cheddar). So how to cook it. I went on a slight limb for this after I did a typical flour and egg yolk coating. I was looking around and went “hey let’s try some millet” so that is what I coated it with. I put it in the oven at about 350 (put some oil and some juniper berry balsamic in the bottom of the dish and in it went.
On to the side dish. Looked to see what vegetables I had and thought since I already had my greens cooking inside the chicken what is something different for the side? Hmm, how about potatoes and leek and make a nice little fried patty- so I did. All it was was potato, the white part of the leek, one egg, salt/pepper to taste and in the processor it went. I then fried it up in some grape-seed oil. A nice quick dish- kind of country style, tasty-juicy, simple. What more can you ask for.
I am calling this confit take #1 as it has been just over a week since the confit process was completed and the duck legs have been sitting in the solid fat in a container in my refrigerator. Future takes I will update in time as I have two legs left to be eaten at later dates where they will be preserved in the fat longer.
The confit process was a multi-day and step ordeal. To begin with, the legs were initially rubbed with a combination of spices (I used a variety including white pepper, garlic, cloves, cardamom that I ground up, and allspice). The main curing agent was salt (not a part of the spice blend). The legs were then individually wrapped in plastic wrap and left in the refrigerator for two days to cure.
After the two days, the legs were then unwrapped, washed with cold water and then put on a rack to dry. The following day (I let this occur overnight), I heated up duck fat until a simmer, then placed legs into the pot and did a quick saute on them. I then transferred the pot into the oven at 200 degrees which was then left in the oven for eight hours.
After this step, the legs were then transferred into a container, the cooled fat was added and then put into the refrigerator- this process with how they are cured can last for a few months refrigerated. Some people feel the longer time they are like this from initial end point the better the flavor is.
For actual meal-time cooking, I took one leg out and removed most of the fat. I put it in a pan skin side down and cooked in the oven at 500 for about 10 minutes. As a contrasting side to the richness of the duck I had just made a simple mixed arugula salad with a juniper-berry balsamic vinegar. The other side which was a millet cake is a recipe taken from Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef. This was an ideal side as it was a lighter fluffier cake and with was nice with the extra oil/fat of the duck.