This is a great way to jazz up grilled chicken, but is also terrific on pork chops or tenderloin. You can make this cherry sauce up to three days in advance (stored in the refrigerator, of course) or freeze it for up to three months. Reheat before serving. If you prefer using bone-in chicken breasts add an additional 15 minutes to initial grilling time.
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 tablespoon brown sugar
grated peel from 1/2 medium orange
juice from 1/2 medium orange
1 pound frozen pitted cherries or fresh, when in season
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons honey
juice of one whole lemon
16 chicken drumsticks or 8 chicken leg quarters
salt and pepper
rosemary for garnish (optional)
Defrost frozen cherries at room temperature for approximately 1 hour. Chop cherries so they are more or less quartered. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine wine, brown sugar, orange peel and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in cherries. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to one-third of its original volume.
Incorporate cornstarch-water solution into cherry mixture. Cook cherry mixture over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, so the sauce can thicken. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Mix honey and lemon juice. Set aside.
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and grill over medium-hot coals.
Leg Quarters: Grill on one side for 10 minutes; turn and grill an additional 10 minutes.
Drumsticks: Instead of flipping completely, simply rotate drumsticks about a third every five minutes for a total cooking time of 15 minutes. to ensure attractive, even grill marks.
Baste chicken pieces with honey mixture and grill an additional 5 minutes. Turn pieces and repeat until pieces are grilled evenly on all sides. Regrilling honey basted chicken gives it a nice color and a crisp skin.
Spoon warm cherry mixture over chicken pieces and serve. Garnish with rosemary, if desired.
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