• Chef Dylan

CHARRED SPICY DRUMSTICKS



These juicy roasted chicken drumsticks leave a lovely tingle on the lips and are so easy to prepare that once you try them they will instantly become an arrow to your cooking quiver.

The wonderful thing about this recipe besides its absolute simplicity is the many, many ways you can use them as they taste delicious both hot or cold. These lovely legs work fantastically as a lunch for hard working tradies who I’ve seen easily demolish 8 of these during their mid-morning ‘smoko’. You can also shred the meat off the bone while still warm and you now have a way to jazz up a simple green salad, cooked rice, potato salad, sandwiches the list goes on and on.


The spicy nature of my peri peri sauce warms the mouth due to the sun ripened Queensland chilli’s which are hand picked off the vines by me to ensure the highest quality of produce. I believe it is the perfect balance between heat and flavour and is absolutely exceptional on chicken. While doing the experiments for my Shaka Zulu peri peri sauce I knew I wanted to create a medium spiced sauce that was warm enough for those who like a kick of chilli but it was important to me to make sure the sauce was full of natural flavour not just mouth burning fire breathing heat. Which is why 40% of this sauce is made from vine ripened red capsicums grown here in South East Queensland.


While talking to some of the local farmers I was shocked to discover that they are often forced to throw away beautifully ripe capsicums simply because they don't last long enough in the cold storage during transportation which the major supermarkets demand. Tasting one of these so called ‘rejects’ was like biting into a sweet fuji apple. Due to all the natural sugars being developed by the warm golden Queensland rays of sunlight made me think, it’s an absolute travesty to see such wonderful local produce go to landfill. It got me thinking how can I stop them from going to waste.


I contacted a number of capsicum producers to hear their thoughts and had a good ol’ yarn with one of them. “You just need to roast them up within a few days of picking them” he assumed. That’s not such an easy or logistical task though. Is it?” he declared. Unperturbed I cried “It’s well worth a try isn’t it. Let’s make it happen!” So ‘with a little help from my friends’ as the song goes we made a plan and much to the surprise of all our doubters I’ve befriended a handful of farmers and made it into a reality. The result is my authentic Shaka Zulu peri peri sauce which has no added sugar except that which mother nature gives to the capsicums and chilli. Sweetened by mother nature oven roasted to perfection by me I like to think.


Did you know? The African bird’s eye chilli which is the main chilli originally used by the Africans to make peri peri is a close cousin of the American Tabasco chilli, and a distant relative of the bird’s eye chill’s loved in Thai cooking, all have a common ancestor native to South America. You see chilli has been eaten by indigenous peoples since at least 7500 BC and evidence suggests chillies were among the oldest domesticated foods in the Southern hemisphere. There is archaeological evidence at sites located in a tropical lowland area of southwestern Ecuador that shows that chilli plants were domesticated more than 6000 years ago.


As one of the first cultivated crops in Central and South America they must have been very important to the culture as a food source. Diego Álvarez Chanca, a physician on Columbus' second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, brought the first chilies to Spain. Upon their introduction to Europe chillies were originally grown as botanical curiosities in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries and it was the monks who first experimented with eating them. They quickly discovered chillies culinary potential and their pungency offered a substitute for black peppercorns, which at the time were so costly that they were used as legal currency in some countries!


The humble chilli pepper spread across most of the then known world within 50 years of its discovery. For it to reach Africa it was the Portuguese who, aided by local traders following long-established trade routes, spread the plants though the Old World with almost unbelievable rapidity. The fiery new spice was readily accepted by Africans who in turn created peri peri with the addition of vinegar and lemon also brought by the Portuguese to the new African colony of Mozambique. Hence why the origins of peri peri are attributed to Mozambique.


Go on, try this very simple recipe and be amazed at how something so easy can taste so good!


Chef Dylan Tips: Make a few slashes into the drumsticks to speed up the cooking process and to make it easier to remove the flesh if necessary. Be sure to baste the legs during the cooking process to get a nice bark and char on the outside.


PREP TIME: 5 mins

COOKING TIME:

SERVINGS: 2


INGREDIENTS


• 1 kg chicken drumsticks

• 1 tbs of CREOLE

• 5 tbs of SHAKA ZULU peri peri sauce


METHOD


1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. With a sharp knife make a few slashes into the drumsticks cutting down to the bone.

3. Place the drumsticks in a single layer on the tray.

4. In a small bowl mix the CREOLE and SHAKA ZULU sauce until combined.

5. Using a pastry brush or your hands, coat the chicken pieces with the CREOLE and SHAKA ZULU marinade.

6. Bake the drumsticks uncovered until cooked through (the internal temperature reaches 65C) about 40-45 minutes.

7. Baste the drumsticks with the remaining pan juices using a clean pastry brush.


TO SERVE


Serve immediately with accompaniments of your choice and a craft beer or cold vino to wash them down.