This recipe is called ‘awesome chicken’ for lack of a name when asked during a pot-luck event. The name has stuck because it truly does taste awesome. Sweet from the honey, sour from the lemon and deliciousness from the demi-glace.
Chicken drumsticks can usually be bought relatively inexpensively but for even more savings whole legs can be purchased and the drumstick removed (the thigh reserved for another recipe.)
Making Chicken Lollipops
The first important step for this recipe it to plump the chicken legs (drumsticks.) This is relatively easy to do and there are two ways to do it. The preferred method is to take a small knife and, while holding the fat end of the drumstick in your hand, run the knife around the bone about 3/4″ from the end. This, if done firmly, will cut through all the tendons and skin down to the bone allowing the meat to be pulled towards the fat end. Then take a cleaver or heavy knife and cut off the ankle joint with a hard chop. The other method is to skip the first step and move straight to the cleaver, though this is more likely to leave you with a splintered bone. Chicken drumsticks prepped in this manner are also referred to as ‘lollipops.’
Preparing the legs in this manner allows them to keep their juices intact and remain tender. The meat ends up almost stewing in the skin.
The demi-glace used is preferably homemade (a veal stock reduction combined with sauce espagnole and reduced further), but can be purchased in many grocery stores or specialty food shops. Buy unsalted if at all possible.
This dish is actually hard to over cook. The recipe calls for a 20 minute cooking time, but that is a minimum. Because the legs are effectively stewing they can be left for a lot longer.
Defining Our Terms
There are a couple of terms in this recipe that not everyone will be familiar with: reduce au sec and mount with butter. Reducing au sec means, literally, to reduce until dry. Dry being a relative term. It basically means until there is no obvious liquid left in the pan. Mounting a sauce just means to whisk in softened butter just before serving. This gives the sauce a shiny finish and slightly thickens it. It is important do not do this over the heat as the butter will split and you’ll end up with an oil slick.
This recipe lends itself quite well to variation once the techniques are familiar so try it then riff away.
- 6 Plumped Chicken Legs (lollipopped drumsticks)
- 1 cup Mirepoix (small dice)
- 1 Lemon, zested, sliced and de-seeded
- ½ cup Demi-glace
- ½ cup Dry White Wine
- 1 tbl Honey
- 1 tbl Olive Oil
- 2 tbl Unsalted Butter, softened
- Kosher Salt
1. Season chicken legs with sale and pepper then brown in olive oil over high heat, remove form pan and set aside.
2. Deglaze pan with wine and reduce. Add honey and lemon zest, reduce au sec.
3. Add mirepoix and cook until the onions are translucent. Return the chicken to the pan and add lemon slices, cover with wet wax paper and bake at 350-400° for 20 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, set aside chicken and cover with tin foil.
5. Add demi-glace to pan, reduce and season to taste.
6. Strain finished sauce through a fine mesh sieve then remove from heat and mount with butter.
7. Serve two legs per person and spoon sauce over.