Saturday, September 28, 2013

Miso Chicken - Shades of Gray - Outdoor Wednesday

This chicken is one of my secret weapons. I make it once or twice a year, usually in the winter, to lift spirits and mellow the steely gray of the Oregon winter sky. The chicken is really easy to do and you can find all the ingredients you need to make it in any large grocery store. Chicken wings cooked in this fashion would be perfect for game day. While I grilled these, they can also be baked in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or so. Mirin is, for the most part, a cooking wine, though it can be served as a drink for ceremonial purposes during new year celebrations. Its composition is 40 to 50 % sugar, so basting marinades made with it must be watched, lest they burn. It is very similar in taste to sake, though it has a lower alcohol content. Interestingly enough, it can be made at home. Miso is a condiment of fermented soy bean paste that can be used to add a unique flavor to marinades and basting sauces. Used in conjunction with mirin, it can help overcome really strong flavors. It, too, can be made at home. Maybe I'll put them on my bucket list. Maybe. Here's the recipe I use for wings or thighs. I actually prefer thighs, but I must admit that wings make better party food.

Miso Chicken


1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup mirin or 1/2 cup mirin + 1/2 cup sake

1/2 cup light miso

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoon minced garlic

8 (about 2-lbs.) boneless chicken thighs or 20-24 (about 3-lbs) chicken wings

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


1) Combine soy sauce, mirin, miso, onions, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Divide marinade into 2 parts. Pour half into in a one-gallon zip-lock bag. Shake to mix well. Add chicken pieces and coat well. Refrigerate for about 3 hours, shaking bag several times. Refrigerate reserved marinade.

2) Preheat grill to very hot or oven to 400 degrees F.

3) Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

4) If grilling, cook for 5 minutes, turn and continue grilling until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Brush chicken pieces with reserved marinade.

5) If baking, arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on a large rack set over a baking pan. Cook for 30 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade.

6) Transfer chicken to a serving platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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