I had never heard of David Chang or Momofuku until two weeks ago. While browsing the New York Times I came across an article on him. I was intrigued. Ferran Adria thought he was magical. A chef of prodigious talent. Anthony Bourdain thought he was scary, smart, funny, and ambitious and the guy that all chefs had to measure themselves against these days and even Martha Stewart was a fan!
I had a sneaky suspicion that I would not be able to cook much out of his new cookbook – I had read a review that some recipes required “meat glue” – uhmm what?! But, I had to get the cookbook anyway.
I’m so glad I did.
The first recipe I laid my eyes on was his Chicken and Egg Recipe (Click here to see the original dish and recipe in all it’s beauty!). There was just something so comforting about a bowl of steaming rice topped with a slow poached egg and beautifully crisped confit of chicken. Let me warm you straight up – this is not a quick and easy meal to prepare. I am pretty sure you can get a dish that looks very similar by pan frying some chicken thighs and poaching an egg but it’s not going to taste anywhere are fantastic. This dish is truly truly inspired. If you have a few hours on a Sunday and was thinking of making a roast – try this instead. The process is not hard, just a bit time consuming – but worth it. Take my word for it. If you don’t trust me, take my husband’s word for it – he said “all chicken should be cooked this way”.
Note: David Chang’s recipe calls for the chicken to be cold smoked. I didn’t have the cold smoker but his recipe does provide an alternative which is what I did with great results.
- 8 cups lukewarm water
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 boneless chicken legs (I used 8 chicken thighs)
- 2 strips smoky bacon (this is the alternative for those who don’t have a cold smoker – that’s me!)
- 5 cups rendered pork or duck fat or grapeseed oil (I used grapeseed oil)
- 2 cucumbers
- 4 cups cooked short-grain rice
- 4 slow poached eggs (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions (I used chives, I know – not the same but I didn’t have any on hand)
- Combine the water, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup salt in a large container with a lid and stir to dissolve. Add the chicken, cover or seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, no more than 6.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Heat the oven to 82c and pack the chicken snugly into a pot or other oven safe vessel – the less extra space there is , the less fat is required to submerge the chicken. Tuck the smoked bacon in the dish as well. Heat the fat/oil and pour it over the chicken. Put the chicken in the oven and cook for 50 minutes (hey it’s me here – I actually cooked it for 3 hours as after 50 minutes it didn’t look all that cooked to me). Remove from the pot oven and cool to room temperature.
- If not using immediately, put the chicken in the refrigerator to thoroughly chill it in the fat. The chicken can be prepared through this step a week or more in advance.
- When you’re ready to serve the dish, heat the chicken confit in the pot in a low oven (around 80c) or on the stove top just until the fat liquefies.
- Remove the bones and fry the chicken (skin side only) over medium high heat until crisp.
- Portion the rice in four bowls and use the back of the spoon to create a shallow space in the middle and slide the slow poached egg into it. Divide the cucumber pickles among the bowl (recipe follows but I didn’t bother with this), nestling them together in a little mound. Add the chicken around the bowl and sprinkle with the scallions (or in my case, chives) and serve.
Cucumber Pickle Recipe
Slice the cucumbers into coins a little less than 1/2 inch think. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and allow it to sit until ready to use.
Slow Poached Egg Recipe
- Fill the biggest pot you can find with water (this is important because a pot of hot water is hotter at the bottom and coolest on the surface. Using a big pot ensures that the greatest volume of water at the right temperature) and put it on the stove at the lowest possible heat.
- Use something to keep the eggs from sitting on the bottom (I used a steam rack).
- Using an instead read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water, heat the water until it reaches 60c to 62c. Let the eggs bathe for 40 to 45 minutes. Make sure that the temperature stays that that constant temperature – if it is too hot add some ice. If not enough heat, crank up the heat a little bit.
- You can use the eggs immediately or store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. If you refrigerate the eggs, warm them under piping hot water for 1 minute before using.
- To serve the eggs, crack them one at a time into a small saucer. The thin white layer will not and should not be firm or solid; tip the dish to pour off a discard the loosest part of the white, then slide the egg onto the dish it’s destined for.
Delicious Life Blog painstakingly went through the internet to find recipes from the Ad Hoc cookbook (another keeper!). I thought it was such a great idea, I’m doing the same for Momofuku.
Perfectly Prickly Cabbage Kimchi – From MSNBC
Marinated Hanger Steak Ssam – From Wall Street Journal
Ginger Scallion Noodles with Ginger Scallion Sauce – From Amazon.com (you can also order the book there!)
Other Recipes by David Chang
Chawan Mushi from Foos & Wine
Clay Pot Miso Chicken – from Gourmet