These drumsticks are perfect for a romantic movie night with someone special or just a casual evening with friends when you want something fun and finger-licking good, but that still has a sophisticated flavor profile that will impress your buds. I recently made them for just such an evening, and every last one was quickly devoured. To turn these from an appetizer or a snack into meal, just add a veggie side and a salad.Tamarind has a sweet and sour flavor that is very acidic, which makes it the perfect base for a BBQ-like glaze. It’s commonly used in many parts of Latin America, as well as in India and Southeast Asia. It is available in many grocery stores, but as it is common to many cuisines, remember to check other ethnic food aisles if you can’t find it right away in the Latin foods section. If all else fails, you can always find it online. Tamarind paste is extremely concentrated, so a little bit will go a long way, and the rest will keep well in the refrigerator for quite some time. Madeira adds the next layer of flavor to the sauce. This is one of my favorite fortified wines. It was initially developed for shipping on long sea voyages setting out from Portugal to the Colonies throughout the New World, as well as to the rest of Europe. Adding a small amount of spirits to the wine preserved the wine and protected it from the excessive heat and jolting the wine would be exposed to over the course of a long trip. The upshot of this is that the wine is shelf staple, and unlike even other fortified wines like Port, you can keep this wine around forever and it won’t go bad even after opening. So go ahead and get yourself a decent bottle you like, use a little bit to cook with, and save the rest to sip as an occasional dessert treat. Plus, all the other ingredients are pretty inexpensive.
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There are several kinds of Madeira, so be sure to get either a Bual (sometimes appears as Boal) or Malmsey (also known as Malvasia). These varieties have more sweetness and concentrated flavors of candied orange zest, toasted nuts, and burnt sugar that complement the tang of the tamarind. Smoked paprika and chilies add a little extra heat and depth of flavor.
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TAMARIND-MADEIRA GLAZED DRUMSTICKS Makes: 12 drumsticks or 3 to 4 entrée servings