Thursday, March 24, 2011
Momofuku's Chicken and Egg
This was such a joy to make because it has rice and chicken and egg and pickles. These are some of my favorite things to cook and as well to eat. What's even better is that I got to sit on the floor while eating this - a humbling and delightful experience. I know, that sounds slightly crazy. Oh well, what to do.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks of all time - Momofuku by David Chang. It also happens to be a moderately challenging recipe. It requires you to brine the meat, confit the meat, pickle cucumbers and slow poach eggs. If you take cooking as a serious hobby, like I do, then this will be really fun.
adapted from Momofuku by David Chang
8 cups lukewarm water
1 cup sugar
1 cup salt
4 boneless chicken legs
2 strips smoky bacon, chopped
5 cups rendered pork or duck fat or grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
2 medium cucumbers, sliced into discs
4 cups cooked rice
4 slow-poached eggs
1/2 cup sliced scallions
- Brine. Combine water, salt and sugar in a large bowl or a big freezer bag until salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Add the chicken into the brine, cover or seal and refrigerate for at least an hour, not exceeding 6 hours.
- Remove chicken from the brine and discard the brine.
- Preheat oven 85C/180F.
- Pack chicken legs snugly into a pot or other oven-safe vessel. The shape doesn't matter, but the less space there is, the lesser fat you'd need to submerge the chicken. Tuck in bacon, leaving some on top of the chicken and some below.
- Pour fat or oil over the chicken. Cook it for 2.5 hours in the oven.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to cool till room temperature in its fat/oil. If desired, chill chicken in the fridge until ready for use. Lasts a week.
- Slow-poached eggs. Fill a deep pot with water. Place a wire rack or something that can hold the eggs below the pot. Heat water to 60C or 140-145F using a cooking thermometer and maintain heat by adjusting the stove or adding ice cubes if the water gets too hot. Gently lower eggs in the water and cook for 40-45 mins.
- To make the cucumber pickles, combine 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt, tossing it together with the cucumbers. Allow to sit in a bowl until ready for use.
- Remove chicken from fat with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate. Get a large skillet hot on medium heat. Sear chicken legs skin side down until deeply colored, about 3-4 mins. Transfer them to a cutting board and slice.
- Scoop rice in a bowl, 1 cup of rice per bowl. Wash cucumber pickles with running tap water, brushing off all salt and sugar particles, then arrange them on the rice. Crack a soft-poached egg in a small bowl and gently side into the rice. Arrange chicken slices and sprinkle scallions on rice. Serve immediately.