I like to show off with my food. For the Oscars this year I spent a whole day going to 4 different grocery stores and the better part of 4 days cooking. The Oscar menu this year included: short ribs on crispy polenta bites, baba ghanouj, crack dip, Zov's Calamari, caramelized pork belly lettuce wraps, mushroom strudel, cheese straws, potato pancakes with smoked salmon, and last put certainly not least...potted chicken rilletes (ps: there will be more on the calamari and strudel soon). With the amount of time I spent doing the savory food I have to admit that I made none of the desserts. Thank goodness my wonderful cousin loves to bake provided some amazing ones.
Back to the chicken rilletes. The rillet definition makes it sound like a cross between a confit and a pate. Which makes me think that maybe, just maybe this is almost kind of healthier. This recipe for chicken rillets was ridiculously good and best of all can be made up to 5 days in advance. The basic steps to make it are easy enough, but doing them all correctly can take awhile. When it came to the 1 1/2 cups of shallots I got lazy and used the food processor... a short cut I highly recommend. I also used dried thyme because its what we had. It was served on baguettes (I had to go to the store midway through the party for more bread cause we were plowing through it) and was best at room temperature (and straight out of the pan when I was making it). With a salad it would be a delicious light dinner, but it works marvelously on an appetizer buffet.
Potted Chicken Rillets
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Marinade the Chicken
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves (preferably fresh); 2 finely chopped
2 2.5-3 pound whole chicken
Salt and Pepper
Combine all of the above ingredients. Cover and chill over night.
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy, oven safe pan brown chicken on all sides and remove. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add white wine and cook until almost all the wine has evaporated. Return the chicken to the pan, add stock until it comes halfway up the chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour or until fully cooked. Remove chicken from stock, allow to cool until able to handle. Remove skin and bones from chicken and shred into bite-size pieces. Reduce the chicken stock until only 21/2 cups remain. (Can be done 1 day in advance)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, divided
1 1/2 (7 to 8 oz) cups finely chopped shallots (in the food processor so I feel better about my laziness)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Shredded braised chicken (from recipe above)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup butter to skillet and allow to melt. Stir in tarragon and thyme, then shredded chicken and reserved 2 1/2 cups braising liquid. Simmer until chicken is very moist and tender and liquid is slightly reduced but some liquid still remains, about 5 minutes. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Mix in parsley and chives. Pack chicken rillettes into large glass jar or divide among smaller jars. Chill uncovered until cold, then seal jar and keep chilled.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Serve rillettes with crusty bread and pickles.