The transformed taste of chicken

The transformed taste of chicken

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

Instead of being wistful about the remembered taste of chicken, I’ve decided to create something that I might now latch onto as a new favourite taste. This is intended to be texturally interesting so the chicken wings are not falling-apart soft. Serve as a large shared dish so that everyone gets their hands dirty while they’re eating.

For the brine and confit


Quantity Ingredient
250g salt
250g sugar
24 chicken wings, split into 3 parts of wing tip, middle part and little drumstick
1.5 litres olive oil, duck or pork fat
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon white peppercorns

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
peanut oil, for frying
500g prawn shells and heads, rinsed and dried
4cm piece of ginger, crushed and roughl y chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 scallions, bruised and cut into long lengths
100ml sake
100ml mirin
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 small handful coriander leaves
1 scallion, thinly sliced, white part only
1/4 teaspoon each of black and white ses ame seeds, toasted


  1. Brine and confit the chicken wings:

    Put the salt and sugar into a pot with 1.5 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat off and completely cool the brine. Add the middle parts and drumsticks of the chicken wings, keeping the wing tips for later. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours, then lift out the chicken wing pieces, discarding the brine. Pat them dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Put the oil, coriander and peppercorns in a flameproof dish large enough to also hold the chicken wings in a snug fit. Heat the oil to 80°C, then add the wings, cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the oil. If you wish to store the chicken overnight or longer, remove from the oil, strain out the spices and decant any chicken juices that may have collected at the bottom of the pot. (The juices don’t help to prolong the storage life of the chicken but they are flavoursome and can be combined in some sort of sauce if you like.) Pour the oil over the chicken pieces and refrigerate.
  2. Make the sauce for the chicken:
  3. Heat a very small amount of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Brown the wing tips until dark golden. Remove from the pan and put in a flameproof pot. Scrape off whatever has stuck to the bottom of the frying pan (adding some water helps) and add a little more oil. Stir-fry the prawn shells over medium–high heat. Once they start to smell fragrant, add the ginger, garlic and spring onions and fry until these wilt. Add the sake and cook until the alcohol dissipates. Transfer the prawns and aromats to the pot containing the chicken wing tips and cover with about 1 litre water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. The broth should be fragrant with prawns and ginger, and taste sweet from the prawn shells. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan and put over high heat to reduce. Once it becomes syrupy, pour in the mirin and add salt and pepper to taste. The syrup should be highly seasoned with the primary tastes being salty and sweet.
  4. Assemble the dish:
  5. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add 1½–2 tablespoons of oil. Brown the confited chicken wings in batches for about 2 minutes each side until golden brown and crisp. Bring the sauce to simmering point and toss in the wings. Turn them over to coat well and then transfer them to a large serving dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over and garnish with coriander leaves, spring onion slices and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
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