I wanted a sticky sauce with a lot of punch. I got it.
I based my recipe on the Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken recipe found here.
A lack of bourbon and maple syrup in the house meant the need for a rethink. As I’m currently living on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, there tends to be a lot of whisky about, and I also happened to have some honey. I wanted something a bit smokey, so I selected Port Charlotte Scottish Barley (40ppm) for the whisky.
My partner doesn’t like peat as much as I do though. I thought I might get away with it – that some of the peaty goodness might dissipate once the alcohol cooked off, or be hidden under all the honey – but I didn’t. We both thought the marinated chicken was superb, but only I delighted in the peaty tones of the sauce. Each to their own whisky 🙂 Next time I’ll make it with Bruichladdich “The Laddie Eight”, as we both enjoy this.
We also both like chilli, so I loaded up a fair bit of Sriracha into this recipe. The sauce on its own is quite sweet on the front palate but can pack a punch at the back of the throat. Once it’s on the chicken though, it is much subtler. This wasn’t what I’d call a ‘hot’ sauce, but it is a good medium heat sweet chilli. If you want it hotter (or milder), adjust the chilli accordingly. I will probably add a few drops of Wiltshire Chilli Farm Reaper Habanero sauce next time.
I reckon the marinade/sauce will work really well on pork too. I plan on using the leftover sauce I have as a marinade on some pork belly.
Update 7/9/16 – I forgot to add in the original post, I used 1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger in the marinade. Also, the marinade ABSOLUTELY works with pork belly! OMG it was so yum – I used the leftovers of the chicken dish sauce to marinate 4 pieces of pork belly for a couple of hours, then left only a smear on the pork (so it wouldn’t burn too much) before placing the pieces on the BBQ. We basted the pork once or twice with marinade while it was cooking, then served with rice, and the remaining sauce (yes there was still some left!) heated back to a boil. It was divine 🙂
- 1/2 brown onion grated (~ 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup whisky
- 3/4 cup honey
- [update 7/9/16 – 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger]
- 3-5 tablespoons Extra Hot Sriracha Sauce
- 1/2 tsp of salt or to taste
- 750g-1kg of chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, wings)
- optional side dish: 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, 2 potatoes, chopped into bite-sized chunks, coated in olive oil, sprinkled with salt
- optional side dish: half savoy cabbage, thinly sliced, pan fried low-med heat in butter, olive oil and salt. cook 5-7 minutes before serving chicken.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Add the grated onion, ginger and butter to a small-medium sized saucepan (or fry pan) and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. You’re aiming to cook and soften the onions but not brown them.
Into the pan with the onions pour in the whisky, the honey, the chilli sauce and the salt. Stir to combine over a medium heat, then lightly simmer for approx 5-10 mins (you’ll probably need to reduce the heat a little). There’s no need to continuously stir it. Remove pan from the heat once it starts to look syrupy, and doesn’t smell like raw alcohol anymore. I would sample the marinade at this point – does it need more chilli ? more salt ? if yes, add it and give it another stir and maybe another taste.
Place chicken pieces in a pan or baking dish. Sprinkle/grind a little salt on the skin (to help it crisp) then spoon or brush some of the sauce over the chicken pieces, just enough to coat them on all sides. I used approx 4 tablespoons over 4 drumsticks and 2 thighs. You don’t need to coat the chicken too much, as you’ll be using the remaining marinade as a sauce later, and most of it will drip into the pan as the chicken cooks anyway.
Remove the chicken pieces from the dish/pan and place them directly onto the top oven rack. Place the pan/dish on the rack underneath, to catch the drips. If you don’t like the idea of having to clean the racks after, you can cook the chicken directly in the pan/dish, but I find the chicken cooks much more evenly this way PLUS you can fill the pan with chopped vegetables, which will soak up all the lovely chicken fat and marinade drippings. I used a mix of chopped potatoes, parsnips and carrots (2 of each, peeled, bite sized chunks, coated in olive oil and salt).
Roast chicken (and veg) at 180C/350F for 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken as the honey will make it more likely to burn. I had to turn over a couple of my pieces to stop them burning too much on one side. At the 15-20 minute mark, turn over the veg so they cook evenly. It’s only necessary to turn the chicken if you’re worried about them burning, or if you’re cooking them directly in the pan and not on the racks.
While the chicken is cooking, put the sauce back on the heat. My sauce was quite syrupy after 15-20 mins on a low simmer (including initial cooking time before putting marinade on chicken). I was also tasting it regularly to ensure the flavours remained as I wanted (salt, sweet, chilli). Once it was at a consistency I was happy with for sauce, I left it on the lowest stove setting to keep it warm. If you’re worried about it reducing too much, just remove it from the stove and reheat just before serving.
If the chicken ends up blackening too much before it or the vegetables are cooked, you can take them out of the oven, place them in an oven proof dish (I used the one I was planning to serve them in) then put back in the oven under the veg i.e. switch the racks. The chicken will keep cooking, but the veg tray above will protect them from burning, and also allow the veg to brown more. I had to do this for the last 5 -10 minutes, as one of the thighs was getting quite dark.
The chicken is ready when the skin is crispy, and the juices run clear (not pink) when the flesh is pierced with a knife.
Serve chicken pieces with roast veg, cabbage and a jug of hot Whisky Honey Sriracha sauce.