Hazelnut Smoked Chicken

   Normally, to smoke any meat one needs an elaborate setup or an outdoor barbecue. When winter sinks deeply here, the temperatures can drop below -20C/0F regularly. Not exactly hospitable for maintaining a 90C/200F low n slow barbecue. I decided to use a traditional Hunan Chinese stovetop method for smoking. Normally it’s done with duck and tea leaves but any smoking medium can be used. This past autumn, I picked a lot of fresh hazelnuts and decided to use the hazelnut meat in the marinade and the leftover shells as the smoking medium. It is a mutli-step process, but once you get the idea it’s actually rather seamless.

Hazelnut Smoked Chicken Legs & Wings:

2 whole Sunshine Organic chicken legs (thighs & drumsticks connected)

2 whole Sunshine Organic chicken wings (wingettes and drumettes connected)

 

For the Honey-Hazelnut Butter:

1/2 cup hazelnut meat (keep the shells for later)

2 Tbsp Coal Lake Honey Farms mixed flower honey

1/3 cup Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

1/2 tsp salt

   Blend together all the Honey-Hazelnut Butter ingredients until nearly smooth (the odd small chunk is ok).

For the marinade:

   Mix together the prepared Honey-Hazelnut Butter with 1/4 cup Bles-Wold Greek style yogurt. Place the marinade in a large freezer bag. Add the legs and wings. Seal shut and massage the marinade on the legs and wings. Set the bag in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

For the steaming:

2 cups chicken stock (I use homemade)

2 medium onion, peeled and thickly sliced

Marinated chicken legs and wings (wipe off excess marinade with paper towels)

   Pour the stock into the bottom of a wok and place a large bamboo steamer over the top. Lay the thickly sliced onions over the bottom of the steamer.  Lay the marinated legs and wings in a single layer on top of the onions.

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   Bring the stock to a boil over medium high heat, place the lid tightly on the steamer and steam the chicken for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the steamer momentarily from the wok. Pour out the leftover stock, wipe out the wok clean and line it with a sheet of aluminum foil.

For the smoking:

1/4 cup hazelnut shells

1/3 cup Gold Forest Grains dry pearl barley

1/3 cup white sugar

   On the foil lining the bottom of the wok, add the hazelnut shells, barley and sugar.

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   Place the prepared wok over medium high heat. When it starts to smoulder, place the steamer back on top with the steamed chicken legs and wings inside. Cover with the lid, a couple of sheets of foil and a wet cloth.

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Smoke over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, then turn off the heat entirely and allow the residual smoke to permeate the chicken for another 45 minutes. Remove the foil and wet cloth from the steamer and take the steamer off the wok. Discard the smoking medium. Clean out the wok and proceed to the next step.

For the hot oil searing:

1-1/2 cups Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

   Add the oil to the wok and heat to a temperature of 180C/350F. Hold the smoked wing with a pair of tongs over the hot oil. Ladle hot oil over the smoked chicken skin at least a dozen times to tighten the skin and add a slightly crispy element to the skin.

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   Drain on paper towels and repeat with the other wing and legs.

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   This smoked chicken is great as a part of a Barley Risotto or a twist on a Spaghetti Carbonara (recipes coming tomorrow in two parts).

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