The latest Little Creatures Single Batch ‘The Day of the Long Shadow’ is a big mouthful not just in the extensive name but also the beer itself.
Styled with a cold European Christmas in mind; it’s a boozy 8.9% abv that smacks you lovingly in the face but it’s nicely balanced with assorted spices and dark fruits. Whilst Little Creatures are normally known for a more American hop approach they have used UK Sovereign and Challenger hops. These English hops lend softer and more earthy characteristics with Challenger hops, in particular, providing fruitiness and sutble spices. There is a little bit of bitterness lurking about as well so I thought a dish with some contrasting bitter/sweet flavours could be an interesting match.
I flicked through Bill’s Everyday Asian and landed on a recipe for Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings. The contrasting soy, chilli and sugar sounded like it could work up against the Little Creatures “the day of the long tea time of the soul darkness etc etc” but at the same time I had my doubts however I liked the sound of the dish and couldn’t be bothered looking into it any further. I had briefly contemplated something Christmas inspired, in keeping with the theme, but I really didn’t have the time to be trying to roast a leg of ham or turkey and fruitcake isn’t really dinner appropriate. I had also committed myself to cooking three other dishes that night (related to other occasions) so I was inclined to get on with it!
I kinda followed the recipe however we didn’t have Sake so I just used the nearest booze in arms reach … in went a generous dash of Coopers Pale Ale. I had palm sugar in hand, which I had purchased for another dish, so I grated some and tossed it through instead of the regular white sugar the book called for because, to be perfectly honest, it felt more asian-y. I ditched the sesame seeds because I just couldn’t be bothered. The result was a recipe that went a little something like this:
Sticky Chicken Wings (based on Bill Granger’s Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings)
I served with chilli fried rice so dinner wasn’t just a plate of chicken wings …
6 Chicken Wings
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 red chill, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Mirin
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
Generous splash of Coopers Pale Ale
Grated Palm Sugar (approx 30 grams)
Throw chicken wings into a dish lined with baking paper and into a hot oven (200 degrees) for about 35-40 minutes. In a saucepan over medium heat throw in the other ingredients, garlic and chilli first and then the rest. Cook for a few minutes or as long as it takes for the liquid to reduce by about half. Whether this was because of my handful of variations this actually took a good 15 minutes.
After 35-40 minutes remove chicken wings from oven and coat with the sauce, toss through to ensure they are covered. I was a little skeptical at this stage, thinking the sauce wouldn’t stick but after another 15-2o minutes in the oven the result was just as the title promises!
Dinner was sticky and good but sadly not a winning match with the beer with far too much contrast going on between the food and the beer. Ah well, I get another chance at it with a Gauloise Christmas still in the fridge!