Adaptation woes: Chicken wing confit
In light of my success with the duck confit recipe from Modernist Cuisine, I decided to try a variation that would allow me to serve the poultry on the bone, but in a small enough portion to be an appetizer. In other words, I decided to confit chicken wings.
I started off by tweaking the spicing in the Modernist Cuisine cure, to bring it in line with the flavour profile I wanted in the final dish. So I mixed up a batch of cure with coriander, black pepper, fenugreek, cumin and cinnamon, packed it on the wings in vacuum bags in the proportion indicated for the duck confit (18% by weight), and cured them for 10 hours. Then I rinsed them off, repacked them with a bit of fat (roast chicken fat in one bag, and bacon fat in the other), and cooked them sous vide at 82°C for 6 hours. They were given quick chill in an ice bath, followed by a rest in the fridge, before I reheated them in a hot oven until they were sizzling and starting to brown.
In retrospect, all this effort was probably overkill. Normally, “overkill” wouldn’t bother me – as long the results are delicious. But these were only so-so. For one thing, either there was too much cure or the curing time was too long, as the wings were very salty. Not to the point of being inedible, but I wouldn’t want to have more than two of them at a time. Also, chickens being flightless birds, it’s not as though their wings are tough enough to require the tenderizing effects of long time, low temperature cooking, so 6 hours was probably unnecessary. Duck wings might have been a better candidate. (And I may yet do them.)
All of this speaks to the trial-and-error process of adapting a known recipe. I’m glad I did a trial run of these without having to worry about serving them to guests, because I wouldn’t have been pleased with the resulting dish. Now I have a better idea of what needs to be changed, so I can continue to refine the recipe until I have something I’m happy with.
What types of recipes have you successfully adapted?