Peach Butter Barbecue Chicken

After glazing that salmon, my next task for the peach butter took a Southern turn with peach butter barbecue sauce. I let my sauce percolate for most of the afternoon, then brushed it over a roasted chicken long enough to caramelize on the skin but not burn. This sauce was nicely sweet and tangy with very little heat, just the way I like it, but you could easily turn up the volume with the addition of some chipotle in adobo, or pretty much any other sort of pepper for that matter. If I try this again, I think I’ll stuff some of the barbecue sauce under the chicken’s skin and let it marinate for a few hours that way to get more of the flavor into—rather than just on top of—the chicken; a dry rub of the Penzey’s barbecue seasoning on the outside probably wouldn’t hurt matters either.

To go with the barbecue roasted chicken, I knew immediately that I wanted to braise my remaining collard greens, since my first treatment of them (the stir-fry debacle) did not do them justice. This time I went much more traditional, sauteing onions and garlic in bacon fat until brown, then adding my green ribbons with some homemade stock and white wine; they cooked down for probably 45 minutes, and became very tender and flavorful.

I can see why Southerners are so enamored with collards—they are easy to work with, absolutely delicious, and healthy enough to offset the other side dish I made, at least in my own mental tally. The latter would be risotto-style red potatoes in creamy cheese sauce. I made this dish on the fly to take the place of a cheesy hash brown casserole that I used to love years ago, but doubt I will ever make again: frozen hash browns packed with melted margarine, cream of chicken soup, sour cream and vast piles of cheddar cheese, all sufficient to create lakes of grease on the casserole’s surface, but very appealing to a picky eater like me. I haven’t made anything like it in years, but it just sounded so good with the collards and barbecue that I decided to give it an overhaul.

Essentially, I peeled and diced the potatoes into about 1/4″ cubes, dropped them in a large non-stick skillet with a little chicken fat, and just covered them with chicken stock and a splash of wine. The mixture simmered away until most of the broth was absorbed and the potatoes were tender, then I added cream and a double handful of shredded cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Rich, creamy, cheesy goodness ensued, a perfect foil for the tangy-sweet chicken and subtly bitter greens. It tasted at least as good as that casserole, with substantially less time and oven involvement.

Peach Butter Barbecue Sauce

2 T butter
1/2 C onions, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 C ketchup
3 T mustard (I used a combo of stoneground and Dijon)
2 T olive oil
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp dried chipotle pepper
1 C peach butter

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan, and simmer covered, over low heat, for 3-4 hours. (You can use it much sooner than this if need be, but it helps to meld all the flavors together; remove the cover partway through if you want a thicker consistency.) As always, taste and adjust to your preferences: mine seemed pretty tart, so I added a drizzle of honey and probably a teaspoon of salt to balance it out.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Mommy Porch.

Risotto-Style Cheddar Potatoes

I winged this recipe and didn’t really measure, so the amounts aren’t exact; I’ll try to keep track better next time I make it.

2 T chicken fat or butter
5 red potatoes (about 2 per serving), peeled and diced into 1/4″ cubes
About 2 1/2 C chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/3 C white wine
About 1 C heavy cream
About 1 C shredded cheese (I used mostly medium cheddar with a little Gruyere for interest)
Salt and pepper

Melt the chicken fat in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the potatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper; saute for a minute or two, just until slightly browned in spots. Add the white wine and stir until it has reduced, then add just enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes. Bring to a hard simmer and allow to cook uncovered, stirring periodically, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the stock has reduced; add a splash more stock here and there if it all boils off before the potatoes are done.

When the stock is all boiled off and the potatoes are done, add the heavy cream and cook until thickened slightly, stirring to coat the potatoes. Just before ready to serve, stir in the shredded cheese until melted and thoroughly combined; taste and adjust seasoning.

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