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Chicken and Scallion Yakitori
Recipe adapted from Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat, "The Japanese Grill" (Ten Speed Press)
Yield: 6 chicken and scallion skewers, plus about 3 cups yakitori sauce
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes, plus 1½ hours for yakitori sauce
Total Time: 37 minutes, plus 1½ hours for yakitori sauce
4 chicken leg bones, chopped into thirds
2 cups mirin
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup sake
1 cup water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 chicken legs (about 1½ pounds with bones), skinned, deboned and cut against the grain into ½-inch-wide slices, bones reserved
15 scallions, white ends only, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
½ cup yakitori sauce (see recipe above)
1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi
Six 12 inch bamboo skewers
1. Make the yakitori sauce: Preheat the broiler. Arrange the chicken bones in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning once, until the bones are browned, about 5 minutes per side.
2. Transfer the bones to a stockpot and add the mirin, soy sauce, sake, water and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid reduces by half and becomes glossy, about 1½ hours. Strain the liquid and discard the bones. Set the sauce aside and allow it to cool to room temperature. The sauce can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 1 month. (If refrigerating, boil the sauce for 2 minutes after each use to kill any bacteria and evaporate any accumulated moisture. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating again.)
3. Make the skewers: Prepare the skewers by folding each chicken slice in half and skewering, alternating the chicken slices with pieces of scallion lined up perpendicular to the skewer and pierced through the center. (Make sure the folded sides of the chicken are aligned.) As you work, rotate the skewer to make it easier to pierce the meat and scallions. Each skewer should hold about 4 chicken slices and 3 scallion pieces and cover about 4 inches of the skewer. When the skewers are ready, gently press down on each one with the heel of your hand to compress the meat.
4. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Place the skewers on the grill in a row, and begin turning about every minute, making sure not to burn the meat, for about 6 minutes. (If some skewers are browning too fast, trade them for skewers grilling over a lower heat area of the grill.) Once the meat is browned, brush some of the yakitori sauce on top. Grill for about 2 minutes more, turning the skewers every 30 seconds and brushing them with sauce each time, until the meat is a rich auburn color. Transfer skewers to a platter, drizzle 1 tablespoon of yakitori sauce on top, and garnish with shichimi togarashi.