Friday, January 17, 2020

Doenjang Braised Chicken and Vegetables

This ain't your mommas braised chicken - this pot of comfort (also containing sweet potatoes, carrots and long beans) gets a boost of rich flavour from Korean doenjang (soybean paste) and sriracha. Spicy and savoury, its perfect alongside rice for a warming hearty and healthy meal!

Winter is definitely time for braising, and today is no exception! There really is not much simpler, or more comforting, than browning some proteins and vegetables, pouring in some stock and letting everything simmer away for a few hours. One of my favourite things about braising is that the flavour combinations are infinite - I made a more traditional one earlier this month with a whole bird, but when I was putting groceries away I came across a half-tub of Korean bean paste that I had used for soup a few months ago and knew I needed to do something to use it up. A browse of the local store flyers found chicken legs on for a great price, and with some hearty, low-cost winter vegetables on hand already I had the basis for a great meal. After just over an hour, the chicken was cooked along with the veggies, and the broth thickened to coat everything in a luscious gravy perfect for the sticky rice I cooked up alongside. The best part? It used up all the leftover doenjang as well as the last of the Sriracha and veggies left over from the holidays!

I had never cooked anything with doenjang besides soup - and even that was cheating because I used a recipe for miso broth using it. However, the beauty of the Internet led me to the blog With a Glass, where I found the basis for this braised chicken legs dish. Of course, I had to triple the recipe and add a boatload of vegetables to satisfy mom's love of them (I am her daughter in every respect - I love veggies too!), and since I had just cooked down a big batch of turkey stock from the holidays I used a bunch of that too. The mixture of flavours - which were otherwise somewhat foreign to me - was absolutely insane in the best of ways. We had company for dinner that night too, and even though they didn't get to taste it (mom hoarded it for her lunches) commented on how lovely the house The skin and backbones were saved and added to (separate) pots to make schmaltz and more stock, respectively - I can't waste a thing! 

If you can get your hands on this funky (literally) bean paste, I strongly recommend giving it a try. I detest the poppy words like "flavour bomb" but this is really it in every sense, as well as being healthy, hearty and a new twist on your standard fare.

Doenjang Braised Chicken and Vegetables
Adapted from With a Glass
Serves 6
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 chicken legs, skin-off
1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
3 large carrots, sliced into sticks
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large bunch green long beans, chopped (about 2 cups), you can use regular green beans too
10 cups low-sodium chicken stock (I used homemade, although I like this one too)
1/2 cup doenjang (Korean soybean paste) or yellow miso
2 tbsp Sriracha
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup cold water
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (I used my Staub) over medium high heat.
  2. Add the chicken legs in one layer (I had to do mine in batches) and brown thoroughly on all sides. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, one minute.
  4. Add back the chicken legs, then pour over the stock and stir in the doenjang, Sriracha, and pepper flakes. 
  5. Cover and let simmer on low heat 1 hour.
  6. Remove the lid and raise the heat to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is done.
  7. Whisk together the starch and cold water.
  8. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Whisk in the starch slurry and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.

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