Remember that chicken stock I made the other day? You know, the one with the feet? I just felt a shudder, so I guess you do remember it. Well, as delicious as it is in soups and anything that calls for chicken stock, its true calling in life is to be one of the main ingredients in Chicken in a Jar.
Chicken in a Jar is what I call Chicken Rillettes because I don't know how to pronounce rillettes and I always serve it in a mason jar. I can sound out Spanish, so I've always pronounced it Ree-yets, but I'm pretty sure the rules of Spanish are not the rules of French. Lucky for me, no one else knows exactly how to pronounce "rillettes", so Chicken in a Jar it is.
I've been making this recipe for years, and despite numerous requests, I have never shared the recipe. I tell people its hard (its not) and its time consuming (most of it is inactive) and leave it at that. Really I don't want people to know how much butter is in this stuff. Better to live in denial.
You want to make this. It's a spread, a salad topping, a sandwich filler. It is good on a slice of a seeded baguette, on a cracker, on endive. Its elegant, but easy. Rich, yet light. Herbey. It is especially delightful with a smear of Dijon mustard and a cornichon. Just trust me on this, your friends and family we be begging for the recipe. Even my dad, who hates tarragon, loves this stuff.
If you know how to pronounce rillettes, good for you. You could go for full snob effect, and call it Rillettes de Poulet (thank you Google translate!) (Google translate also just taught me how to say "rilletts"...which apparently I've been pronouncing correctly), but to me, it will always be Chicken in a Jar.
Chicken in a Jar (printable)
Adapted from Bon Appétit
You absolutely have to use low sodium chicken stock for this. The best results are with a really good unsalted chicken stock. Just whatever you do, don't use full sodium stock. The results will be comparable to a chicken flavored salt lick. I've also made this with 1/2 shmaltz and 1/2 butter which is delicious as well.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 5 pound (2 kilogram) whole chicken
1 cup (240 milliliters) dry white wine
4 fresh bay leaves, or 2 dried
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup (230 grams) carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup (230 grams) onion, roughly chopped
1 cup (230 grams) celery, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4-6 cups (1-1.5 liters) unsalted chicken stock (preferably homemade)
8 oz (1 cup, 2 sticks, 240 grams) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups (20 grams) shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Shredded braised chicken
2 1/2 cups reduced braising liquid
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and Pepper
For the braised chicken:
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Heat oil in a large oven proof pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and add the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the yummy brown bits and reduce the wine until it is almost completely evaporated. Put the chicken back in the pot and add the bay leaves, thyme, carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Add enough chicken stock to come halfway up the sides of the chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot, and place in oven and braise until chicken is tender and fully cooked, about 1 hour.
Remove the pot from the oven. Transfer chicken to a bowl and allow to cool enough to handle. Strain the braising liquid into a large pot (I like to strain it into a large pyrex measuring cup so I can see how much liquid I have, then I pour it back into the pot I used to braise the chicken). Boil until the liquid has reduced to 2 1/2 cups (just over 1/2 liter), about 20 minutes. Shred the chicken, discard the skin, bones and cartilage.
Can be done 1 day in advance, store the chicken and braising liquid separately.
Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until just translucent. Add the remaining butter and allow to melt. Add the tarragon, thyme, and braised chicken. Mix well. Add the braising liquid. Simmer until the chicken is moist and the liquid is reduced to about 1/4-1/3 cup, roughly 15-20 minutes. Add the parsley and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pack the rillettes into a glass jar or serving dish. Serve at room temperature with crusty bread, Dijon mustard, and Cornichon.
Can be made 5 days in advance, store in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.