Friday, March 23, 2012
Back again, with peach-whiskey chicken
And then, after nearly two weeks of eating alone, Sean came home. Hurrah!
And there was nothing else to do but make a man meal. You know the kind of meal I'm talking about. It's rich, it's meaty, it's probably filled with all sorts of things (ample butter, pounds of pasta, maybe a little meat-on-meat action) that you'd shy away from making on an average Monday.
And I must have missed him because I picked a doozy of a recipe to make for dinner. Instead of pulling a cozy favorite of the shelf (Silver Palate, or The Barefoot Contessa at Home), I cracked open The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.
Let it be known, that although I have a deep affection for the pioneer life (born and raised in Utah, deeply devoted to sun bonnets and Laura Ingalls Wilder), I'm not a Pioneer Woman fan girl. But I can say this: Thank you, Ree Drummond, for making me believe that it is okay to start a week with a dinner that requires chicken legs, whiskey, a jar of jam, and four cups of BBQ sauce. Not to mention butter laced mashed potatoes.
Of course, I had to make this recipe my own. I started by making a double batch of my Grandfather's BBQ sauce. Once the chicken was cooking, instead of adding a jar of store bought peach jam I added homemade nectarine preserves. Fresh sliced peaches? There are none to be found in March. The chopped parsley garnish was replaced with cilantro. And I just didn't have the time to make mashed potatoes. Baked Yukon Gold, split, and topped with a healthy dollop of butter seemed to do just fine.
I'm enclosing the original recipe, both to give credit where credit is due, and to encourage going-with-the-flow. There's a lot of craziness in my life right now, and I find it helps to not have too many grand expectations -- or to stress too much about the little details. No peaches? No problem. Preserved nectarines will do just fine.
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Recipe presented in Pioneer Woman style, with step-by-step photos.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
12 chicken legs, skin on
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups whiskey
4 cups BBQ sauce
1 cup peach preserves
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 peaches, pitted and sliced into 8 slices each
Mashed potatoes, for serving
3 green onions thinly sliced
Chopped fresh parsley
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken pieces until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Add the onion to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until translucent. Pour in the whiskey, taking care if you're cooking over an open flame. Cook for 3 minutes or so, allowing the whiskey to cook and reduce. If it seems appropriate, use that 3 minutes to pour some more whiskey and make a cocktail.
Grab your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and add it to the pan. Add the peach preserves, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 cup water, then whisk to combine. It won't look like much, but it will smell amazing.
Add the chicken back to the pan, then throw in the fresh peaches (if using).
Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven for 90 minutes. When it emerges, the chicken will be tender and falling off the bone... the sauce will be beautiful, thick, and rich. You'll know it's done.
Serve the chicken over a big mound of potatoes, spooning sauce over the whole thing. Sprinkle with green onions and parsley.
Make sure the table is set with paper napkins, you're in for a saucy night.