Sour, Spicy, Smokey Drumsticks

In moments of unfounded, starry-eyed optimism, I think of myself as one who can and will eat whatever. I think I’ll eat the dregs of the pantry, making strange yet nourishing dishes!

What such notions actually lead me to is standing lightheaded in front of the fridge, wanting something even mildly appealing to appear, and making myself sick with toast and butter. It is a terrible thing because not only is everything worse without food in the belly and sugar in the blood, but also in such a state it is impossible to think creatively about what to eat. Just give me something. Having fallen off the boat so to speak, I have been awash in endless Costco food items, which I choke down (whoops, there goes the ocean metaphor) in insufficient and nauseating quantities.

I realized that cooking for myself in a deliberate way is not an indulgence, it is a way to get myself to want and not just to need to eat. It keeps me in a stream of gustatory desire, so that I do not wither away in disgust. There is undoubtedly some psychological peculiarity belied by my need to control and be actively involved in the process of making food. But the point is, cooking is important, damn it!

And so we arrive at the last thing I cooked. It is in some way inspired by Adobo, which is not something I have ever made, and have only tasted once. Having been mostly distrustful of sourness in savory cooking, it is now a novelty that I want to explore.

2 tablespoons cooking oil 4 chicken drumsticks 1/2 a medium cabbage 1 large onion 3 cloves garlic 3 small dried jalapenos juice of 2 lemons juice of 1 large orange 2 teaspoons smoked paprika salt (1/2 teaspoon?)

Sprinkle salt on both sides of drumsticks. Cut cabbage half and onion into thin radial slices. Smash garlic cloves and chop into largish pieces. Chop dried japapenos into largish pieces. Juice lemons and orange and reserve juice. On high heat, heat oiled saucepan until oil begins to smoke. Being careful not to burn yourself, lay drumsticks in pan and cover with lid or towl to keep oil from splattering everywhere. Brown both sides (a few minutes on each side) of drumsticks and remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Fry garlic and dried jalapenos for about ten seconds before adding cabbage and onion slices and stirring to coat everything in oil. Increase heat to medium and fry vegetables for five minutes, stirring every minute or two. Add chicken drumsticks, blanketing them under the vegetables. Add citrus juice and smoked paprika. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for roughly half an hour, or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Salt to taste.

8 April 2011