Wednesday, March 11, 2009

cheap is chic? marinade away ...

In the recent downturn in the global economy, cooking inexpensive, healthy and nutritious meals at home seems like a very good idea.

However, cooking at home is the norm in Sweden compared to the U.S. Since salaries for even the more menial jobs like fast food etc, are actually decent, the cost of eating out is high (even going out for a hamburger), and is a large deterrent. This is, perhaps, why Sweden doesn't have obesity issues.

During my last trip to New York, my sister fed me a meal that I recognized from my childhood: soy-sauce and ginger glazed oven roasted drumsticks. Atop a nice chewy bed of Japanese rice, she served up a drumstick, a soy-sauce egg and a sprinkling of spicy pickled mustard greens. My taste buds were alight with the familiar and new tastes combined.

Though this dish takes a little prep, it's mostly a hands-off operation. It does take advantage of the wonderful relationship soy sauce has with meat. In fact, Swedes love soy sauce so much, it's often the basis for any marinade (especially for BBQ), Asian inspired or otherwise.

Soy Sauce and Ginger Glazed Drumsticks

8-10 drumsticks patted dry
2 T soy sauce
1 T honey
1 inch of ginger minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 T mirin (an Asian cooking wine, you could use sake as well)

Combine all the ingredients in a bag. Make sure that the drumsticks are evenly coated in the marinade and place in bowl in the fridge. Marinate at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Place drumsticks in a shallow baking dish and bake for around 30 minutes.

Your kitchen will be filled with the lovely smells combining together, and anticipation is definitely part of this dish. When the dish is completed, the juices of the chicken will combine with the marinade to create a sauce. While the chicken is roasting, this is a good time to start the rice (rice takes approximately 20 minutes to cook).

While I've always eaten this dish over rice, I've seen it on the menu of a fusion restaurant served with mashed potatoes. They did fiddle with the sauce and thicken it, but obviously, it depends on your energy level if you want to stir in some cornstarch to the sauce. Eat in good health!

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