Thursday, 11 April 2013

A Weekday Dinner: Sticky Chicken with Sesame & Chilli

Along with my slow cooking obsession, you'll probably notice I'm also slightly obsessed with Katie Quinn Davies. Her recipes are simple, straightforward, and her recipe book is a pleasure to look at. This chicken is a dish I've made three times now, and each time it's just as good as the last. One thing I like about it is that it's a pretty good weekday dinner dish. It takes a little while to cook, but the prep is easy, it only requires two pans and once you can stick it in the oven, you can get on with other things while it's cooking (as long as you promise me you'll baste). As Katie points out in her recipe, there is a long looking list of ingredients, but most of these you'll find you have in your cupboard already. And if you don't have them, buy'll definitely use them again. On the budget front, it is (can be) a good one. If you have a lot of the ingredients in the pantry, the chicken will cost you less than $10, and that's from a butcher. Always a plus!

The recipe here serves 4, but I cooked half as I didn't need heaps of food.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1kg free-range chicken drumsticks and legs (make sure you get a mixture)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion
3 clove garlic
1 C tomato ketchup
140g wholegrain mustard
120g runny honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 long green chilli
A handful sesame seeds
Steamed Basmati rice, to serve...if you want.

Turn your oven on to 160 degrees, fan forced. It is kind of low, but you want low and slow to make sure the sauce turns into a thick, rich covering over the chicken.

Now start by making the sauce, which is probably one of the simplest sauces I've ever made. Finely dice the red onion, and roughly chop up the three cloves of garlic. It doesn't have to look any good as it will be well and truly cooked by the end, it just needs to be relatively small.
Put the 1 tbspish of olive oil into a small saucepan and heat it over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the red onion and cook for about 5 mins, or until the red onion is nice and soft. You don't want to brown it, or cook it too fast. Add in the garlic, and cook it for another 5 mins. Again, you don't want to brown the garlic and onion. You just want to soften it gently.
Turn the stove down and add to the saucepan the 1 C tomato ketchup, 140g wholegrain mustard, 120g runny honey, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 3 tbsp Worcestershite sauce and 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir it well, turn up the heat a bit and simmer the sauce for about 5 mins.

While the sauce is cooking, you need to take the skin off the chicken drumsticks. The easiest way to do this is use a sharp knife to cut the skin at the narrowest part of the drumstick all the way around. You may need to nick the skin and stick the knife under to cut it, but BE CAREFUL.
Once it's cut all the way around, use your finger to get under the skin and separate it from the flesh, and then it will peel right off. There will be a little skin left on the end, but that's fine.

Put the drumsticks and wings into a baking tray. BIG TIP: Line your baking tray with a layer or two of aluminium foil. The chicken is being baked with a sticky sauce for 1.5ish hours so the sauce tends to stick to the pan too. The aluminium foil will make the clean up much easier! Trust me. Anyway, once you've taken the skin off the drumsticks, put all the chicken into the tray and season with salt and pepper.
Once the sauce is ready, poor it all over the chicken and stick the tray in the oven.
Cook the chicken for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2hrs, basting regularly. Now, the basting is really important. It not only helps the meat stay nice and moist, but it also helps to make sure all the lovely flavours from the sauce are sitting on top of the chicken and soaking in, as opposed to being on the bottom of the tray doing nothing. I basted every 15mins and my chicken has always come out nicely coated in the sweet, sticky sauce.
Make sure you sprinkle on a generous handful of sesame seeds and thinly chopped green chilli just before you're ready to serve.

You can serve this with whatever you like. I served mine with salad this time, but you can also serve it with rice. Or baked vegies. Whatever takes your fancy at the time.

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