Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spicy Gochujang Braised Chicken Thighs

If you are ever stuck on how to cook the tray of chicken thighs in your refrigerator, consider braising as a great and much more delicious alternative to let's say, deep frying or stir-frying. And to add a little kick to the dish, why not spice it up with a little Korean fermented hot pepper paste called gochujang by adding it into the braising liquid. The basic braising principles hold true here as well, so do as you would with lets say, braising short ribs. Here are the ingredients you'll need:

Chicken thighs (1.5-2lb)
4 carrots (rough chop)
1 large onion (peeled, rough chop)
4 big slices of ginger
4 ribs of celery (rough chop)
1-2 quarts chicken stock/broth
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
2 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large oven-safe deep pan, heat up 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sear off the chicken thighs, skin side down first until the skin is crispy yummy. Turn them over and cook the other side until brown. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and set aside. Add the vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, ginger) to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Next, add the garlic and stir well for 30 seconds or so. Be careful not to let the garlic turn brown or burn.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the yummy bits of chicken stuck on the bottom, add the gochujang and tomato paste and mix well. Transfer the chicken thighs back to the pan, skin side up, and add more chicken stock until it covers most of the chicken but not the crispy skin (we try to keep the skin as crispy as possible). Finally, cover the pan with foil paper and put the pan cover on. Transfer the pan to the oven that is heated up to 375°F and let it cook for approximately an hour.

When done, remove the chicken from the pan and sieve the braising liquid, removing everything else and saving the liquid. Taste and season the braising liquid with salt and pepper, if needed. If need to, reduce the liquid by a quarter to further intensify the flavors. Use it as gravy, serving the chicken with rice and a vegetable of your choice (I like asparagus). Enjoy!

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