I go through obsessions. The last one was lotus root. Some obsessions turn into long slow love affairs, and I think that’s what is going on with me and maple syrup.
Our Vermont friend Bruce opened my eyes to the incredibly complex and delicate flavor of pure maple syrup. I’ve made my whiskey spiced maple syrup glaze in many variations, the latest one being for the Thanksgiving day bird.
However, last night it was time to think outside of the maple syrup spice box. There is nothing like hunger to make a person creative. On hand: two chicken legs, very fragrant Puglia oregano, left over citrus zest and a couple of oranges. Citrus, oregano and chili all play well together so we were in business.
Juice of one orange
The zest from an orange, a lemon and a lime
3 finger pinch of oregano*
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chili peppers, crushed
Combine the juice, garlic, oregano and chili peppers in a small sauce pan. Reduce to just about a tablespoon of liquid.
The Chicken Legs
Liberally salt the chicken legs and then add a generous sprinkling of Spanish smoked paprika. Roast until the skin starts to get crackly and a little brown.
Back to the glaze
Once you have the reduced juice, add a small glug of maple syrup. Mix well.
Bring the hot legs out of the oven and paint a thick layer of glaze on the legs. Now back to the oven.
You should have enough glaze left over to give the legs one more coat.
Last Licks for the Hot Legs
A few minutes before they are done, add the final layer of glaze onto the hot legs and back into the oven. If there isn’t enough glaze add more maple syrup.
Reducing the juice will kick up the heat-spice level, so if it’s too intense, the sweetness in the syrup will mellow out the heat.
Serve with oregano roasted potatoes and sprinkle zest all over the plate. Lemon on potatoes is good!
*A note on pinching: A 2 finger pinch is a lot less than a 3 finger pinch. 2 fingers is a little bitty bit, a 3 finger pinch is a good grab. If you are still shaking out your oregano from a little jar with a plastic cap with holes…ditch the plastic cap and get pinching!
Works very well served on Sunday night, along with a good movie. Lloyd, you can pilot my plane anytime.