Sticky Smoky Bourbon Chicken

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken

If a recipe has bourbon in the title then you’ve lost me – I’m already in the kitchen snapping open the lid of my Makers Mark drowning my other ingredients with it whilst also sneaking myself a wee dram. If every recipe could have bourbon in it then I’m sure the world would be a much calmer, more relaxed and happy place. Just like me, after my second wee dram.

I’ve been really enjoying reading other people’s blogs lately, I’ve shrugged off my inferiority complex which has been green with envy at the rapier wit of their child’s first day back to school or the renovations they are doing to their vast farmhouse kitchen somewhere in North Dakota. I’m also now appreciating their stunning photography which plays with light and shade as a chocolate cake peeks beautifully out of the shadows, scattered with delicate flowers, without glaring pointedly at my own Canon, cross that it never does that sort of thing for me. So, yah, I’m like super over this pesky jealousy.

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

This week I have been enjoying catching up with Pinch of Yum, whom I discovered via Pinterest. I noticed recently just how many of their photos I have been pinning to my boards so I thought I would go and look at their website for realsies. Now, I have to confess, I only looked at one recipe, which I was enjoying immensely, before I was struck by the Bourbon Effect (totally a thing) on the second recipe and I had barely finished reading the other ingredients before I remembered I had some chicken in the fridge. Well my friend, I had cannonballed myself into the kitchen, snatched the chicken out of the fridge and doused it liberally with Makers Mark before you could say SoberTober. It was pretty lucky then that I also managed to locate the rest of the ingredients in my larder which took less than 5 minutes to measure out and add to the mix. Between my first glance at the recipe and getting my version in the oven it couldn’t have taken longer than 10 minutes, but I might have made some slight alterations here and there to suit exactly what I was after.

Now, the original recipe asked me to marinate my chicken overnight but there was no time for that, this was a bourbon emergency and not a moment could be wasted. I have no idea therefore how much was lost in translation but honestly it couldn’t have been much as boy did this dinner deliver.

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

I also swapped out the sugar that was called for with honey, because I am turning into a bumblebee (yeah, I know they make it they don’t eat it, and also that it’s not bumble bees it’s honey bees – what are you the bee police? I want to be a bumblebee and a bumblebee I shall be kind sir). I also added some chipotle to add a bit of smoky heat to the proceedings, and then a pinch of instant coffee for a bit of dark background noise.

I served my version with a giant mound of garlic broccoli and sugar snap peas because after all that bourbon and honey I had to do a cursory nod towards this diet I’m supposed to be on (argh, when will it start – damn you Bourbon Effect).

Now, I might go and read some more of their recipes, I am also prone to the Cinnamon Effect of late so we shall see how far I get.

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken
Adapted from Pinch of Yum http://pinchofyum.com/sticky-bourbon-chicken-rice
Serves 4

4 chicken legs (I always ask for mine boned with skin intact)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
120ml soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
60ml very light olive oil
60ml vinegar (rice or cider or white wine)
60ml bourbon
60g honey
1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
A pinch of instant coffee

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and place in a large casserole dish, with the chicken skin side up and poking out of the sauce.
  2. Leave to marinate for a couple of hours, if you have time.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, then place the casserole dish, uncovered, in the oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice, like the original recipe, or green veg like me.

Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels


Making your own chocolates from scratch is not a fly by night past time. It requires patience, a lovely long Sunday all to yourself, and plenty of practice. When you get it right it is so rewarding and sometimes when I look at the dinky little glossy parcels I impress myself that I managed to produce something so refined and expensive tasting in my own kitchen.

A few years ago when the new wave of chocolatiers were springing up all over London I was convinced that I had found my calling. I went to a number of classes by William Curley and Paul A Young and found the world of chocolate and everything they had to teach fascinating. Both men began their careers as pastry chefs and were lured into their focus by the endless possibilities that chocolate creates. It’s an easy subject to get excited by as it has a wonderfully rich history dating back to the Aztecs which I still remember from my visit to Bourneville from my early school days. It’s funny the history lessons that stick. The cultural impact of chocolate is immense, we almost seem to take it for granted in the current climate but it really is a very sacred ingredient and of course it’s the best food out there. Anyone who disagrees is just wrong.

I remember a girl at school who was allergic to chocolate which she wore as a badge of honour. We all felt tremendously sorry for her though, especially when it was ice cream and chocolate sauce day, which was the most delicious meal to be produced by our school kitchens. As soon as the chocolate hit the ice cream it hardened, but it wasn’t like the commercialised Magic Shell stuff you can get in America, it was thick, sticky and sweet. Who knows how they made it work, I think it involved lots of golden syrup, but that recipe must be on my blogging to do list.

These particular Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels are filled with boozy treacly caramel. They are simply wonderful, not too intense like some liqueur chocolates can be and not too sweet like some caramel. The salt adds the spark to get your palette going and so they quickly become addictive. Don’t worry though, they take so long to make that you certainly won’t be making them every day. They are a treat, both in terms of creating and eating.

The moulds I used to produce these chocolates were plastic moulds rather than silicone. They were about £4 and you can pick them up from numerous places online but I do recommend www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk as they have such a wide variety. I have silicone moulds too but I find the plastic ones easier to use as there’s a lot of banging and scraping involved at the filling stage which is just a bit tricky with floppy silicone. Although a word to the wise, which should be obvious but is worth repeating if you are from my class of stupid. When I first invested in a lot of chocolate moulds I found them hard to clean – because they are. Do not though, put them in the dishwasher. Mine were not expensive catering moulds and they completely melted and rendered them useless. It put an end to my chocolate making career for a while whilst I saved up to buy new ones. So, like all of your most treasured of kitchen appliances, you will have to wash them up by hand.

Before you get going I would recommend watching one of the copious amounts of YouTube videos on how to fill chocolate moulds. Although I will try below it’s not easy to explain and like all the best techniques it’s much easier to understand if you watch it. Again, like anything, practice definitely makes perfect, I’m certainly no expert but the more times I make my own chocolates the better I am getting and the less chocolate I am wasting.

So, to fill your moulds you will need some tempered chocolate. You can see my earlier post on how to temper chocolate. Pour your tempered chocolate liberally over the mould until each individual chocolate pocket is full of chocolate and there is plenty of chocolate sitting on the surface of the mould, don’t be stingy, the excess can easily be recycled.

Bang it against the work surface. Then pick up the mould and tap it continually, turning it around and about so the chocolate is encouraged to eek into the corners of the pockets.

Then flip the mould completely upside down so you are holding it over a large bowl, letting all the chocolate drip out, carry on tapping and shaking the mould. When the drips lessen scrape the surface of the mould with a palette knife, with the mould still upside down.

Turn the mould back the right way and place down to let it settle for about 10 seconds. Turn it upside down again over the large bowl and the second wave of chocolate will now start to drip out. It won’t be a downpour like before as the chocolate will be thickening, just carry on tapping and shaking, and then scrape the surface with the palette knife again.

Now place the mould upside down on a sheet of baking parchment so the chocolate can slowly slip down the sides of the mould and there is an even layer of chocolate inside. Leave it for about 3-4 minutes, then lift it up and scrape the surface with a palette knife for the final time. Leave to set for about an hour before filling your chocolates.

Pour your filling into a piping bag and fill your chocolates carefully. Do not overfill. Then you can finish off your chocolates straightaway if your chocolate is in temper.

Pour a liberal amount of the tempered chocolate over the surface of the chocolate mould, making sure that each chocolate is generously covered. Then take your palette knife and scrape away the excess, it should leave a lovely thin film of chocolate over each individual chocolate. Leave to set for 1 hour before flipping your mould over. Each chocolate should pop out very easily.

Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels

Crisp dark chocolate encasing a rich buttery bourbon caramel
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 30 chocolates
Calories: 99kcal

Ingredients

  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark muscovado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 60 ml whipping cream
  • 75 g cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 300 g tempered dark chocolate

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan heat the sugars with the fleur de sel on a gentle heat. Do not stir but shake the pan around occasionally so the sugars melt evenly. Be careful as the sugars can burn quickly.
  • When just melted and turning a golden brown remove from the heat, then pour in the whipping cream. It will bubble up a lot so be cautious.
  • Then add the butter and keep on stirring.
  • Once all the butter has melted stir in the bourbon until it has all mixed together evenly.
  • Leave to cool for a couple of hours whereupon the bourbon will mellow out and the caramel will thicken slightly.
  • Meanwhile you can be tempering your chocolate as described here.
  • Then coat your moulds with chocolate as described above, leave to set for about an hour.
  • Fill your chocolate moulds with the thickened caramel, making sure not to overfill.
  • Then you can straightaway pour some more tempered chocolate over the top of the mould, scrape a palette knife over the surface of the mould to remove the excess chocolate then leave to set for about 1 hour.
  • Turn the moulds upside down and the chocolates should happily drop out.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1.2mg