Monday, April 20, 2009

Chicken Drummies, Spinach Salad w/Orange Segments, Lo Mein w/Peanut Sauce & Scallions

On traditional holidays I often get a craving for non-traditionally American food. On Easter we had a fairly standard brunch (yesterday's posting), which called for an Asian-inspired dinner. The chicken drummies recipe is one of our family favorites. They're absolutely addicting.

Chicken Drummies on the Grill
Spinach Salad w/Orange Segments and Red Onion
Lo Mein w/Peanut Sauce

Chicken Drummies
6-8 pounds of little chicken drummies and wings
1 c. fresh lime juice (4-5 limes)
1 12 oz. jar apricot preserves
1 c. soy sauce
2/3 c. sugar
4-5 large garlic cloves, crushed
Tobasco sauce to taste

Mix all ingredients except chicken in a medium bowl. If you want a smooth sauce, puree in a blender (optional). Otherwise it's chunky. The flavor is the same either way. Marinate the chicken in this sauce for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. I do this in gallon-sized ziplock bags.

Preheat oven to 425. Use 2 large casseroles, or disposable foil baking pans, to bake the drummies. Bake initially at 425 for 20 minutes. Turn down the heat to 325 and continue baking for 30 more minutes. Using tongs, turn over all of the drummies and return to the oven for 45 more minutes. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

These come out absolutely falling off the bone and tangy-yummy-gooey-good. You'll want to drink the juices left in the pan.

For a variation, this time I reserved about 1/3 of the marinade in a small saucepan, added a little corn starch, and brought it to a boil to thicken. Meanwhile, I baked the chicken at 350 for one hour. Then I heated up the grill to low heat, and finished the drummies on the grill, turning frequently with the thickened marinade, and regularly brushing with the thickened marinade, until the marinade is all used up, and the drummies are well-browned and thickly glazed, about 30-40 minutes. They are less tender this way, but they have magical grilled deliciousness.

Spinach Salad w/Orange Segments & Red Onion
fresh spinach leaves
naval orange, peeled and cut into segments (see technique below)
1 slice red onion, cut into ribbons
Dress with Asian Salad Dressing (below)

Arrange spinach leaves on a small plate, arrange orange segments and red onion ribbons on the spinach. Drizzle with Asian salad dressing, and serve.

Asian Salad Dressing
1/2 c. peanut oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T sugar or honey
1 T heaping fresh chopped ginger
1 large clove garlic, rough chopped
3 T seasoned rice vinegar (look in the Asian food section, I use Marukan brand)
1 tsp sesame oil

Place all ingredients in blender except peanut oil. Blend on low speed. Gradually add peanut oil in a drizzle. Scrape sides if necessary. Blend into a thick, silky emulsion.

Lo Mein w/Peanut Sauce
(serves 4)
small package lo mein noodles, prepared per package instructions
3-4 scallions, cut into fine rounds, including some of the green part
3 T peanut butter (crunchy or smooth as your tastes dictate)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 T fish sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1.5 T palm sugar (or 1 T regular sugar)
juice of 1/4 lime (or less)
pinch of dried ground Thai chilies (or other red pepper flakes)

I love peanut sauce, and am almost always disappointed by recipes even in Thai cookbooks, so I developed this one myself. Ingredients such as fish sauce and palm sugar require a trip to an Asian market - I have not yet found satisfactory products in a regular grocery store.

Mix all ingredients except scallions and lo mein in a small glass bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, and stir well. Microwave 20 seconds more and stir well again. By now the palm sugar should be melted and the peanut butter should be loose enough to blend well with all of the ingredients. Taste. It should be a balance of nutty, salty, sweet, a tad hot, with just a hint of the acid from the lime. Adjust seasonings as need - fish sauce for salt.

Toss just-drained, hot lo mein and sauce together to coat, add scallions and toss briefly. Serve warm.

This was actually a pretty lazy meal to make - prepping the chicken ahead of time is, of course, key. Then you spend your time cutting up a naval orange, mixing a bunch of stuff in a bowl for the peanut sauce, boiling a package of lo mein, tending the grill, and drinking beer.

Segmenting a naval orange is simple, and results in succulent sections with no pith or membrane. Slice off the top and bottom rind of a naval orange so the flesh is showing. Set the orange on a cutting board and slice away the peel from top to bottom, in ribbons, to expose all of the flesh and leave no pith. Holding the orange in the palm of one hand over a bowl, use a sharp knife to cut next to the membranes toward the core of the orange, loosening the segments one at a time, allowing them to slide into the bowl as you cut. Rotate the orange as you go until all segments are cut free. There will still be juice in the remaining flesh and core of the orange, which you can squeeze out and use to make a cocktail or for another purpose if you wish.

1 comment:

  1. This recipe has my name on it. (Peanut sauce is my name.) Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the post.