Jalapeño Peach Chicken

In the canon of beer and food pairings, one of the most classic combinations is a pale ale with spicy food. The bitterness of the hops accentuates the heat. And Vivian has the perfect spicy recipe for pale ale pairing: Jalapeño Peach Chicken.

Jalapeño Peach Chicken
The glaze makes about 5 cups, or way more than you need for this easy weeknight meal. Leftover glaze will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or can be placed in a canning jar, leaving 1/4 -inch headspace and processed in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to keep for up to a year. Recipe tester’s notes: If peaches are not in season, substitute 1 pound frozen peaches; defrost before making the glaze.

For the glaze:
3 cups chopped peaches (about 4 to 5 medium peaches)
1 pound jalapeños, stemmed and seeded
½ onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 ¼ cups cider vinegar
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 to 14 chicken wings or 10 drumsticks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
⅔ cup jalapeño peach glaze

Make the glaze: Combine peaches, jalapeños, onion and ginger in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until everything is shredded and juicy; but not fully pureed.

Transfer the chunky mess to a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven and add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Over medium heat, bring it up to a boil, skimming the foam that finds its way to the top as often as you can. Less foam boiled down into the sauce means a more pristine clear glaze. Cook the sauce at a medium simmer for about 30 minutes. It should thicken slightly but not appear to be darkening in color. After 30 minutes, test the viscosity by pouring a little on a chilled plate and sliding that plate into the fridge for 5 minutes. If it runs like heavy cream when you tilt the plate, cook it longer. If it pools in a drip like loose honey, it’s ready.

Cook the chicken: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and let the chicken come to room temperature. Toss it with oil and salt and spread the chicken in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Make sure the pieces are not touching one another so they will brown evenly.

Slide the tray onto the middle rack of your oven and roast undisturbed for 10 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven. Stir the pieces around in the pan and cook an additional 10 minutes. Take them out again, pour off any fat that has accumulated, and toss them with the sauce. Put the tray back in the oven and let them roast an additional 15 minutes. They should be caramelized in places and shiny in others.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Recipe from “Deep Run Roots: Stories & Recipes from My Corner of the South,” by Vivian Howard (Little, Brown and Company, 2016).