Happy new year, friends! It may be a long overdue greeting but alas, here I am and I'm excited for what the future holds. For you, for me, for strangers around me. May this year be filled with the anticipation of joy and newfound opportunities.
I've been keeping myself somewhat together by the prospect of great things to come, endless smiles and giggles from little Miss Tabitha (accompanied by the worst blowouts that are sure to make one ugly-laugh), all while feeling as though I can never quite catch my breath to stop and smell the roses. Though in this case, it would be more like stopping to converse with you because I've missed you. I really have. As much as I wish we could chat over a thick mug of spanish lattes--make that a medium sized mug--stopping to write about food will have to do for now.
I want to share with you my appreciation for easy recipes which, I take the liberty to assume, is why exactly you're here; simple dishes that come together in a pinch when you have a family or a party to feed become a requirement at times. While I enjoy taking the time to knead dough from scratch and handling tedious onigiri triangles, I've also come to appreciate one-pot type meals. Pretty much making batches of food that require three steps or less.
I can't take credit for this recipe as I've only adapted it very slightly. As I was perusing through Bon Appetit's chicken recipes this one stood out the most because the name...the name! Need I say more? The name. Caramel and chicken sound like a match made in heaven. But I was also intrigued by it because of its very precise method of cooking which requires pan frying and caramelizing, both things that I'm still improving on as I stumble my way through the kitchen.
The flavors are extremely bold and if you have a palate that's keen on both sweet and sour, this easy recipe might be for you. Brown sugar and vinegar are a main component in this dish but feel free to partially substitute the sugar with a little drizzle of honey if you prefer. Paired with just the perfect amount of sauce to rice ratio, caramelized chicken is heaven. Just ask my husband who gave this dish a thumbs up.
Caramel Chicken with Veggies
Makes 4 servings || barely adapted from Bon Appetit
2 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs chicken thighs, with skin-on and bone-in
salt for seasoning
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 thumb sized peeled ginger, sliced
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cups cauliflower and broccoli florets
1 russet potato, peeled and sliced into ovals
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt on both sides and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes per side. You may have to do this twice depending on how large a pot you're using. Then transfer to a plate and leave fire on. Add garlic to the pot and cook, stirring often, until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Make sure to keep a watch so it doesn't char. Transfer to the plate with the chicken. Discard the fat from the pot.
Return the pot to medium-high heat and add ½ cup water, scraping up browned bits. Add brown sugar and honey and stir to dissolve, then cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Slowly add vinegar and stir to dissolve sugar even more.
Add ginger, broth, water, and soy sauce, then add chicken skin side up, and cooked garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes; cook for another 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Transfer everything to a plate.
Lastly, bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until it's thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Be patient because the tendency will be to take it off the heat too soon. It won't burn as long as you stir every now and then. Drizzle over chicken and veggies and serve with rice.