A chicken pantry dish to topple all others. This braised balsamic chicken has aged seasonings from China (rice wine), Southeast Asia (fish sauce) and Europe (balsamic vinegar). And that is probably why the flavors of the dish are so complex. Initially, however, it looked rather drab. I took a look at the chicken drumsticks in the pan and the dark brown liquid in which they were cooking, and I thought to myself there was no way that this dish would ever look picture pretty. The dark brown looked drab, there was no variety in texture…
In short, although I knew how wonderful the braised balsamic chicken would taste, I was also very much aware of its lack of visual appeal. I rummaged through the bits and ends in the fridge and found half a lemon. I stepped out into the garden, took stock of what herbs hadn’t withered and died, discovered that the basil still had enough leaves and tada! It looked so pretty that I decided it’s perfect for parties and get-togethers.
So… presenting an inexpensive, simple and fuss-free braised balsamic chicken dish that cooks in 30 minutes flat. Garnish with a few slices of fresh lemon and some sliced basil and it’s fit for the holiday table.
Braised Balsamic Chicken
Heat a non-stick pan. Arrange the chicken drumsticks in a single layer and cook over high heat until the skins are nicely browned. Flip them over for even browning.
Pour in the rice wine and allow to boil until the liquid has almost dried out.
Pour in about half a cup of water, the fish sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle the chili flakes and sugar.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, turning the chicken drumsticks over halfway through the cooking.
Uncover, turn up the heat and continue cooking until the liquid is thick and has reduced to a couple of tablespoonfuls.
Arrange the chicken drumsticks on a platter. Pour the sauce over and around them. Insert a slice of lemon between each drumstick. Slice the basil and sprinkle over the chicken.