Sunday, January 02, 2011

Kung Pao-Style Drumsticks

This was one of the "nibbles" I served to kick off last week's seven course wine dinner. (Although it looks like a huge monster in the close-up photo to the left...)

Tangy, spicy and crunchy...they were a real hit. Enough of a success that the other half and I made up another batch for our New Year's Eve celebration. Both at the dinner and on New Year's Eve they were delicious with bubbly. The fizz and acidity cut through the sauce and spice for a perfect pairing.

The original recipe called for turkey drumsticks. That was too much meat for what I wanted to do, so I substituted chicken drumettes. Made for a messy, but perfectly sized hors d'oeuvre. Next time, I might substitute a little fried chicken tender or nugget. And the sauce by itself would be a great toss-in with soba noodles. Make sure and toss the peanuts and green onions on top...

Kung Pao-Style Drumsticks
Adapted from Food & Wine magazine.
Makes 8 appetizer portions.

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 quart canola oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sambal oelek
1 cup flour
8 chicken wings/drumettes
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
2 scallions, minced

In a small saucepan, bring the honey and 1 tablespoon of the ginger to a simmer. Let cool, then strain the honey into a bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallot and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons of ginger and cook over low heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mirin and vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add both soy sauces and the hoisin and simmer just until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the sambal oelek.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the 1 quart of canola oil to 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. (Or use a deep-fryer.) Toss the drumettes in the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Add the drumettes and fry over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, 7-10 minutes; be sure to maintain the oil temperature at 350°. Drain the drumsticks and blot with paper towels.

Transfer the drumettes to a large bowl and toss to coat with the sauce. In a pie plate, combine the peanuts and scallions. Roll the drumettes in the peanut-scallion mixture, drizzle with the ginger honey and serve.

No comments: