Friday, February 13, 2015

Asian BBQ Chicken

It doesn't seem (to me) that I cook chicken very often. I'm not sure why, since its probably my favorite meat. Maybe it's just boring, I don't know. But I got it in my head that not only did I need to make chicken, but it needed to be basted in a thick bbq-style sauce with Asian flavors. I had this picture in my head of a beautiful brown chicken leg, glistening with sauce. Just like in that photo above. Isn't it gorgeous?

Most chicken recipes direct cooks to make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. While that's fine for chicken breasts, I really prefer dark meat to be cooked to closer to 180°F. Dark meat is more moist, and at the lower temperature it still seems vaguely raw to me. It's fairly hard to overcook (unless you burn it), so I tend to leave the chicken on the heat for a bit longer than usual. Your mileage may vary, of course. If you like your dark meat less-cooked than I do, then by all means, cook it to 165°F.

If you're a regular Minxeats reader, you might have noticed that Mr Minx and I are absolutely in love with the rich, slightly-burnt, caramelly flavor and aroma of Chinese black vinegar. It's one ingredient that needs to be purchased in an Asian grocery, so if you don't want to make the trip, then use balsamic vinegar instead. It won't be exactly the same, but it will still taste good.

Asian BBQ Chicken

For sauce:
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon black vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons sambal oelek or sriracha
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For chicken:
2 tablespoons black vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken leg quarters, or 4 legs and 4 thighs
1 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 green onions, chopped

To make sauce: Saute onion in a bit of oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or so. Add the soy, hoisin, brown sugar, vinegars, ginger, and sambal. Bring to a boil. Once boiled, remove from heat and puree mixture with a stick blender. Stir in toasted sesame oil.

To make chicken: Combine black vinegar, soy, and garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Prick the chicken all over with the tip of a knife and add to the bag. Press out the air, seal the bag, and shake to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the oil to a large oven-safe skillet or casserole and heat over high heat. Add the butter, and once melted, add the chicken, skin side-down, and any juices from the marinade bag. Cook 3-4 minutes, until chicken is browned on skin side, then turn the chicken pieces skin side-up. Place pan in preheated oven and cook for 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush tops of chicken with some of the bbq sauce. Return to oven for another 8 minutes. At that time, reapply the bbq sauce and return to oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (or 180°F, if you're like me and want slightly drier meat). Apply another coating of sauce and sprinkle with green onions before serving.

Serves 4.

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