Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chicken with Peach Bourbon Barbeque Sauce

Let me start by saying that homemade barbeque sauce is where it's at! This sauce is an adaptation from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and it's reeealllllyyyy good. The first few days it's too peachy almost like seasoned peach butter. It really needs at least 2 or 3 days for the flavors to meld, then it tastes awesome. Smooth. Complex. Mellow peach flavor. Hint of bourbon and molasses. If you want the best flavor, can it and let it mature for a week or two. This would be a perfect use for overripe, bruised peaches. I used peaches that I had frozen and weren't fit for anything else.

Although this is a canning recipe, it doesn't have to be. There is enough sugar and acid in this homemade sauce that it will keep at least a couple of weeks in the fridge. You could also scale this back to a quarter batch for a single 16 ounce jar. Be warned: this is a sweet thick sauce, so if your into the runny vinegary Carolina stuff, this is not for you.
This is also my favorite way to make chicken in pieces. It's quick, easy, doesn't require a grill, and produces moist meat every time. While your oven preheats to 450 degrees, you brown the chicken skin side down for a few minutes in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. No need to oil the skillet since the fat of the skin will render and the chicken will release from the pan. Flip and brown on the other side. Usually I brown chicken to a darker bronze, but since we're adding a sweet sauce that will caramelize some, go for a lighter golden brown (unless you want to set off your smoke detectors. Twice. Not that that ever happens in my perfectly organized kitchen. Riiiiiiight.)
Then you baste them with a coat of the sauce:
And throw them in your preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. And voila, you're done!
You can make as many chicken pieces as you can cram in your skillet. The beauty of this method though is that it's quick so I usually make just enough for that night since leftovers won't have the crisp skin like chicken straight out of the skillet.

Peach Bourbon Barbeque Sauce
Yields about 4 Pint (16 ounce) Jars
Cooking Time: Approx. 90 min. (including hot water bath canning)
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma's The Art of Preserving

4 lbs peaches
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

olive oil, for sauteing
8 ounces (about 2 cups) onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup bourbon

2 Tablespoons molasses
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Pit and slice the peaches, no need to remove the skin. Toss them with the lemon juice in a bowl and set aside.

2. In a sauce pan, saute the onions in a little olive oil until tender.

3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

4. Add the peaches, sugar, vinegar, and bourbon. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until peaches and onion are very tender, about 30 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and puree with a hand blender.

6. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld a little. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

7. Ladle the hot sauce into hot clean jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles, wipe rims, and apply lids. Process for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.

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