Recipes | Sticky chicken tulips, prunes, smoked bacon, toasted pecans and star anise


Sticky chicken tulips, prunes, smoked bacon, toasted pecans and star anise

There was so much interest when I posted this pairing from 67 Pall Mall's new book Wine and Food in my Match of the Week slot recently that I had to follow up the the recipe from chef Marcus Verberne.

Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn who collaborated with Marcus on the book introduces the recipe.

Madeira is one of the most wonderfully complex wines you will ever taste, but it’s often left to the end of the meal, or served with cheese. We wanted to do something different with it. This sticky chicken dish works very well, as the intense flavours in the Madeira need to be paired with punchy ingredients. It’s a fun bar snack or pre-dinner nibble.

The sticky glaze is infused with the most prominent flavours present in aged Madeira, such as smoky bacon, prunes, honey and nuts, with the complementary spices of star anise and cinnamon. This is the perfect example of what we endeavour to achieve at the Club: to create dishes to match the flavour notes of a certain wine, resulting in a memorable synergy between the two.

Sticky chicken tulips, prunes, smoked bacon, toasted pecans and star anise

Serves 4 as an appetiser

16 chicken wing ‘drumsticks’, ordered from the butcher

600ml chicken stock

8 star anise

2.5cm cinnamon stick

50g pitted prunes

40g pecans

1 tbsp honey

4 smoked pancetta rashers, finely chopped

2 tbsp groundnut oil

80ml Madeira

1 tbsp soft brown sugar


To prepare the chicken tulips, using the heel of a heavy cook’s knife, assertively chop the small knuckle off the end of each wing drumstick to reveal the bone. Pull back the flesh from the drumsticks, turning it inside out to reveal the bone in its entirety.

Place the chicken tulips into a small saucepan and cover with the stock. Add the star anise and cinnamon and season well with salt. Over a medium heat, bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities that collect on the surface with a ladle. Once it is boiling, drop in the prunes and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and infuse for 30–40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C.

Place the pecans on a small oven tray and toast for 5 minutes or so. Remove the tray from the oven, drizzle over the honey and mix, coating the nuts in the honey, then return to the oven for a final 2–3 minutes. Remove from the oven, mix them again, then allow to cool.

Once the stock has cooled, strain the chicken through a sieve over a bowl to collect the cooking liquor. Remove and discard the star anise and cinnamon; they have done their job.

Place the chicken tulips on kitchen paper to dry. Chop the softened prunes very finely to create a paste.

To finish the chicken, preheat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Fry the chicken tulips and pancetta in the groundnut oil until the pancetta is crispy. Deglaze the pan with the Madeira and add the brown sugar and prune paste. Toss the tulips in the pan to coat, then pour in 150ml of the reserved stock. Stirring regularly, reduce the stock to a sticky caramelised glaze, with a consistency that coats the chicken. Place the tulips on a serving platter and coat with the glaze.

Roughly chop the honey-roasted pecans and sprinkle them over the top.

Serve with a finger bowl and plenty of napkins.

What to drink;
Ronan suggests:
Sercial, Blandy’s Vintage Madeira
Sercial, D’Oliveiras Vintage
Verdelho Terrantez, Blandy’s

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