Recipe development has never really taken hold with me. But for whatever reason, as my general understanding and comfort with cooking has grown, I’ve come to do more recipe development, just without the documentation and recipe part. Well alright, my skills are starting to show, time to optimize.
So for the big game this year, one of the couples in our friends group is hosting a party. The husband asked that of all the couples attending, the primary cook for each bring his or her ‘signature’ dish. As it happens, I’m the cook of my couple so I had some thinking to do. Technically, I have one ‘signature’ dish. It’s pulled pork. I make the best non-competition quality, non-restaurant volume pulled pork around. All humility here, I’m sure. I also make a wonderfully spicy chili. Either of those dishes could be considered a ‘signature’ dish.
Here’s the rub; I don’t believe in this signature dish bullshit. I have the confidence in my cooking skills that whatever I set my mind to cook, I could cook. The world now being my oyster, I had two objectives in mind. First, I wanted to make hand food. Whatever I brought to the party should require no utensils. This ruled out the chili. Second, I wanted to over-do things a bit. People who know me would suggest that my signature move is overdoing things, and I’m inclined to agree. And for this year’s party, I took the invitation to bring my signature dish as more of a challenge than a request. A challenge that I intended to meet.
So here we are; finger food, and it has to blow heads. For whatever reason, the very first food that came to mind was chicken wings. But chicken wings, even tossed in a fancy breading and lovingly deep-fried, are boring. Sure, I might set the world on fire with some damn-fine chicken wings, tossed in a sweet and spicy Asian zing sauce; but it’s not likely, not this time. So now we’re back to my recipe development philosophy. I thought, maybe I could acquire some agar agar and make some chicken wing jelly, serve it up super-deconstructed.
And then, it struck me. I know how to make a chicken thigh confit. I don’t just know how to make chicken thigh confit; I make it in such a way that the mere change in process from a 90 minute cook to a confit process has revolutionized the consumption of chicken in our household. Knowing this, I began to think how I could get from chicken thigh confit to Buffalo chicken wings. The first thought that came to my mind was meat glue. What if I were to confit chicken thighs and then using meat glue, reconstruct them into boneless chicken wings which I tossed in buffalo sauce?
Now we’re dabbling with forces relatively unknown to me. So it was time to do some research. Turns out I’ve found at least one example (albeit using duck confit) I could refer to as a guide on boston.eater.com,
I also spent a lot of time studying the optimal way to fry chicken, how to make thinner, crispier skin, and how to hold the fried chicken hot in such a way that it retains crispiness, allowing for a smoother party transport process. And so, with the next few posts, what follows will be my buffalo chicken thigh confit recipe.