Favorite

moZaic Drunken Chicken 

moZaic

443 State Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, 481-1800, innatpalmerdivide.com

For smoked limoncello:

15 lemons, halved and smoked

1 l. inexpensive Everclear

1 l. inexpensive vodka

4 c. corn syrup

1 c. granulated sugar

For seasoned salt:

1 c. kosher salt

2 tbsp. onion powder

2 tbsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

For sage risotto:

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 c. arborio rice

½ c. white wine

3 to 4 c. canned chicken stock

2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. fresh sage chiffonade

salt

white pepper

For lemon chicken jus:

2 c. chicken stock

juice and zest of ½ smoked lemon

salt

arrowroot or corn starch slurry

For drunken chicken:

2 to 3 c. smoked limoncello

6 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 to 4 bay leaves

1 tbsp. black peppercorns

2 lemons from the smoked limoncello

4 half chickens (no more than 3 lbs. each)

water

For smoked limoncello:

Cut lemons in half and place in smoker over wood of choice (we like oak or mesquite chips) and smoke for 2 hours. Then combine all ingredients and let set for 2 days before using. (The smoky flavor of this liqueur is great right out of the freezer to sip on. You can make killer martinis and add a unique kick to Bloody Marys with it also.)

For seasoned salt:

Combine all ingredients. This mix is great on all meats, poultry and fish.

For sage risotto:

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in garlic and cook until aroma is released. Add rice and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Stirring continuously, add in ½ cup of stock at a time. Do not add next ½ cup until the previous one has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Add in fresh sage and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

For lemon chicken jus:

Season chicken stock with lemon and salt. Thicken slightly with arrowroot or corn starch slurry. Set aside to serve over drunken chicken.

For drunken chicken:

Place half chickens (or quartered) in a glass or non-reactive pan, skin side down, close together. Add smoked limoncello and enough water to cover the birds. Don't drown them. Use just enough to get them drunk, and to send the marinade into all nooks and crannies. Add all other ingredients with the chicken. Marinate for 2 days. Pull chicken halves and separate the breasts from the legs. Discard all marinade; it can't be used again.

Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat, unless you have access to a hot griddle or flat top. Sprinkle chicken with your seasoned salt, and sear both sides of legs and the breasts. Place all in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through. Or grill the meat over medium, indirect heat. Plate with sage risotto and lemon chicken jus. Serves 4.

Aftertaste

This recipe, as so many are, was an experiment and has become one of the most popular items on my menu. The alcohol and sugar tenderize the chicken. We've also found that we can marinate and freeze the chicken raw. It won't completely freeze because of the alcohol, so don't panic when it comes out of the freezer still soft. (But don't freeze it in the marinade as it will take on a bitter taste.) The marinating process also produces a rich chicken with a hint of booze and a bittersweet zing at the end — much like my ex-husband. It seems time-consuming, but with a little pre-planning, this can be held in the freezer for weeks before you need it. These birds are world-class rehab failures as they are almost impossible to dry out when baking, roasting or grilling. The leftovers make a great chicken salad.

— Submitted by executive chef Scarlett Farney

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