Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Philippine Vinegar Chicken

This is my all-time favorite way to eat chicken drumsticks. I guarantee even if you would never pick a drumstick off of a platter of chicken, you will like this. It is from an old recipe book that I no longer have.
I started with drumsticks from a local Carolinas grower.  I discovered this chicken is available at specialty stores and the price is decent and I like that it is locally produced.

The first and absolutely essential step is to hack off the "handle", then pull off the skin.  I made it once without breaking into that bone and the flavor was just not there.  You need that bone marrow for the sauce.

This is how they should look when they are ready to be cooked.  Note there are 5, not 4 or 6....that is so annoying.  You'd think they could order another size meat tray to package them in for an even number.

Now you heat oil in a big pot and start browning the chicken "balls", adding in the onion and garlic.

You are going to add a soy sauce/vinegar mixture to the chicken.

Here is the secret ingredient...whole peppercorns.  Since they will have to picked out before the dish is served, you might want to tie them in cheesecloth, if you have such a thing in your kitchen.

This is the wonderful sauce that you end up with.

Here are the nice, caramelized and flavorful chicken legs.  Don't look like chicken legs, do they?  The soy/vinegar/peppercorn flavors have permeated the meat and made it so tender and buttery. The meat falls off the bone in chunks, making it actually easy to eat neatly with a knife and gnawing off the bone required.

Philippine Vinegar Chicken
(from Little Meals, out of print)
4-6 chicken legs (chop off "handle")
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup white vinegar (or rice vinegar)
3 T soy sauce
20 whole black peppercorns
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper.
Chop the "handle" off the chicken legs and discard that bit of bone.  Remove the skin.  Brown the chicken in oil in large pot along with the onions and garlic.  Mix vinegar and soy sauce and pour over chicken, toss in peppercorns and salt and grind some pepper on top.
Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes on medium low.  Remove chicken and reduce sauce a couple of minutes over higher heat to thicken it.  Pick the peppercorns out of the sauce before serving.

Plate two chicken pieces on steamed jasmine rice, top with pan sauce, serve with stir-fried vegetables.

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