"Think of these drumsticks as a savory-sweet Provençal version of the sticky chicken wings you nibble at the bar."
Fall is the new year of the fashion world, so this week's recipe will have a little something to do with trends. Thumbing through my stack of French culinary magazines, I discovered a delicious one: apricots and lavender. These Lavender-Apricot Chicken Drumsticks have three great things going for them: they are easy, cheap, and colorful (the peachy-orange of the apricots and muted violet of the lavender).
Lavender and apricot is a popular Provençal pairing. But the most interesting thing I learned when in Provence this summer: Provençals hardly ever eat lavender. When I visited an Herbes de Provence farm in Lourmarin, the owner guided us through bushes of thyme and rosemary towards the lavender. I asked what she puts in her special HdP blend. She rattled off a list, including summer savory and the aforementioned thyme and rosemary.
"What about lavender?" I asked. She turned to me, startled. "You mean, in the food?" she gasped. Apparently, lavender is a culinary trend that we have only appropriated from Provence (although, as I said, I often see it, gleaming and glossy, in French culinary magazines). For the Provençals, it remains exclusively in the realm of soap.
Think of these drumsticks as a savory-sweet Provençal version of sticky chicken wings you nibble at the bar. You can certainly follow the same recipe for drummettes or wings, and feel free to substitute the lavender for fresh rosemary for an equally authentic and interesting Provençal dinner. With some crispy rosemary roasted potatoes, the dish is even more fashionable.
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 10 drumsticks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- Dried edible lavender blossoms
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Toss the chicken with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you were using rosemary instead of lavender, I would chop it and toss it with the chicken at this point. Place a Silpat (or foil or parchment) over a baking sheet with a lip, and lay the chicken out on the baking sheet, making sure it is well spread out. Roast for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the chicken should be golden. If it needs help, broil the drumsticks for a few minutes to get the skin crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, whiz together the apricot preserves and the tablespoon of boiling water, to loosen the glaze, and break up any large bits of fruit in the preserves.
After 30 minutes, if you have not already turned on your broiler, do so. Brush the chicken with half the apricot glaze, and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the glaze starts to bubble and turn golden brown. Then, turn the chicken over, glaze the other side, and broil until that side is bubbly and golden.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and pile the legs up on a platter. Sprinkle with lavender to taste.