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Red currant jam glazed chicken

It’s been at least three years since I learned how to do a decent glaze. I don’t mean a pan sauce that thickens to coat the ingredients in a stir-fry, but a proper, sticky, glassy glaze of bubbling, caramelized sugar. It took months and months of frustration to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Cider glazed roast chicken

I’ll be the first to admit that I hate recipes. They take work. You’re reading through unfamiliar steps, double and triple checking measurements,* and often having to go back over it again and again as you work your way through the dish. The true joy of cooking for me is jumping in the kitchen, opening up the refrigerator, taking stock of what I have on hand and making something up on the spot. This has its limitations.

See, when you have an idea in your head, like a sticky, glossy, jammy glaze, and you have no idea how to do it so you google a couple of recipes. It turns out they also don’t really know how to glaze so you end up with runny sauces running off your chicken thighs or pork chops.

Sometimes, the fastest route to success is not going it alone. It’s why I love cooking in front of audiences, demonstrating those fine points that just never quite come across from a recipe, and providing the opportunity to ask questions for clarification.

So, whether the kitchen is a space you like to share or a place for you to enjoy some rare and valuable time alone remember, every once in a while, it’s worth not going it alone.

*Yep, I used the Oxford comma for a list of compound thoughts. Was this grammatically correct or an unforgivable sin? Discuss.

Red Currant-glazed Chicken

Serves 4

The bright, colorful glaze offers sweet, tart and slightly tannic flavors dressing up weeknight chicken for special guests.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red currant jelly (see tip below)
  • 1 tbs apple cider or Sherry vinegar
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Directions:

  • Make glaze: Warm 1 tbs olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Add jelly and cook until melted and slightly thickened. Add vinegar and reduce to thicken again, about another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Preheat broiler setting top rack 6-8″ from the heat.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Warm remaining 2 tbs oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat.. Sear chicken thighs on both sides and just about cook through, about 150F.
  • Brush chicken with glaze and place under broiler until sugars bubble and begin to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Brush chicken with glaze and broil again until bubbling and glossy. Serve.

TIP: Can’t find redcurrant jelly? Substitute with 2 cups of raspberry or cherry preserves. Once the preserves melt in the pan strain them through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids.

TIP: This may seem obvious but I have several burns that suggest this reminder is salient. The skillet handle may get hot under the broiler so use a hot mitt to remove it from the oven.

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