Confit Chicken Drumstick with Sweet Potato Polenta


  • 1 quart salt
  • ½ quart sugar
  • ½ cup toasted peppercorns, crushed
  • ½ cup fennel seed, crushed
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne
  • 6 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • Rendered pork fat, as needed
  • 6 bouquet garni, your choice
  • 4 ounces whole garlic
  • ¾ pound European unsalted butter, divided use
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1½ cups fine cornmeal
  • Sweet potato purée, recipe follows
  • Kosher salt, to taste


Combine salt, sugar, peppercorns, fennel, paprika and cayenne. Rub chicken and let sit overnight.

Rinse drumsticks thoroughly. Place 5 to 6 drumsticks to a hotel pan in one layer. Add a bouquet garni to each pan along with garlic. Cover with rendered pork fat. Confit in oven at 275 F for about 90 minutes or until cooked through.

Heat ½ pound butter and heavy cream in a sauce pan. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and leave on low heat. Add cornmeal to sauce pan, cook and continually stir until creamy. Fold in sweet potato purée. Finish with remaining butter and add salt to taste.

To plate, serve sweet potato polenta alongside the chicken. Makes 12 servings.

To make the sweet potato purée: Peel and chop 5 large sweet potatoes and toss with ½ cup light brown sugar, ½ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup cane syrup, ¼ cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons molasses, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon salt and ½ tablespoon black pepper. Place mixture in a roasting pan, cover with foil and roast in a preheated 400 F oven until potatoes are cooked, about 40 minutes. Strain liquid for later use and cool. Purée sweet potatoes in a blender, adding liquid if needed. 

Recipe by Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago