Apr 8, 2020

Braised Garlic Gochujang Chicken Legs

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Chicken drumsticks and thighs are braised slowly over a low heat in a flavorful spicy gochujang and soy sauce and served over rice.

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Braised Garlic Gochujang Chicken Legs

This easy recipe is made with a spicy, flavorful gochujang sauce cooked with chicken. Use this sauce over pork chops or shrimp as well. Braising refers to the method of cooking in a tightly covered Dutch oven with a little liquid in the oven or it can be done on the stovetop at a low temperature over a long period of time. This method of cooking is great for tougher cuts of meat as it transforms the meat, allowing the muscles to break down, leaving it incredibly tender.

What is gochujang?

Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste that adds some sweet and savory heat to any dish. Mixed with soy sauce, rice vinegar and a bit of chicken stock, it becomes the braising liquid for the chicken, which is then spooned over the meat as a flavorful sauce.

Where to buy gochujang

These days it can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores. I like to keep my fridge stocked with gochujang. Since it’s fermented it lasts for a fairly long time.

Braised Garlic Gochujang Chicken Legs in staub dutch oven

Key Ingredients used in this recipe

Chicken

I use a combination of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs as well as skin-on chicken drumsticks in this recipe. Other cuts of meat can be substituted in for this recipe. Try using chicken breasts, just thighs or boneless, skinless chicken thighs. A braise is a good way to break down tougher cuts of meat (which also tend to be cheaper). As a result it transforms them into a tender and succulent entrée.

Chicken stock

Chicken stock is typically made from chicken bones as well as aromatics and vegetables while chicken broth is made with the meat. How does that affect their flavor? Chicken stock has a much richer, more robust flavor which comes from the collagen released from the simmering bones. On the other hand, chicken broth is much more mellow in flavor. I typically use chicken stock when cooking. In a pinch the chicken stock can be substituted with water though it takes away some of the flavor.

Gochujang

This Korean fermented chili paste adds umami flavor and some spice to this chicken. I prefer to look for brands that don’t include corn syrup.

Soy sauce

I use reduced sodium soy sauce so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe.

Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is made through the process of fermenting rice. It has a much more mellow, less acidic flavor than other vinegars.

Honey

The honey adds a natural sweetness to offset the salty, savory flavors of the rice vinegar, soy sauce and gochujang to create a balanced sauce.

Green onions

I garnish the braised chicken with thinly sliced green onions to add a bit of color and fresh mellow onion flavor.

Garlic

I always use fresh cloves of garlic, the pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. It loses a lot of the powerful garlic flavor when it’s jarred. This is because it has been soaked in water for a long period of time. Peeling garlic only takes a bit.

Sesame seeds

I like the flavor of toasted sesame seeds over un-toasted. They are more of a garnish than used to flavor the recipe. If you don’t have toasted sesame seeds simply add them to a nonstick sauté pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds turn a uniform golden brown color. Immediately remove them to a bowl to cool.

Cilantro

This herb has a complex citrusy flavor that adds both color and flavor as a garnish to the gochujang chicken.

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How to make braised gochujang chicken

  1. Sear the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels then season all over with salt. Heat a large 7-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat through. Working in batches, sear the chicken on all sides.
  2. Make the garlic gochujang sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the chicken stock, Gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey then add to the pot with the chicken.
  3. Braise the chicken. Add the whites of the green onions and the garlic and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Next, cover the pot and lower heat to medium low, simmering until the chicken is fork tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Reduce the sauce. Use tongs to remove the chicken to a large plate and set aside. Continue to simmer the sauce until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Then add the chicken back in, using tongs to coat the chicken in the sauce.
  5. Serve. Return the chicken to the pot and garnish with the sesame seeds, remaining green onion and cilantro. Serve the chicken over rice.

 

Braised Garlic Gochujang Chicken Legs-42.jpg

Braised Garlic Gochujang Chicken Legs

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • pound chicken drumsticks
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup Gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 green onions, whites and greens separated
  • 1 head garlic, top ¼” sliced off
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves

Instructions:

  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels then season all over with salt. Heat a large 7-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat through. Working in batches, sear the chicken on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the chicken stock, Gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey then add to the pot with the chicken. Add the whites of the green onions and the garlic and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot and lower heat to medium low, simmering until the chicken is fork tender, about 1 hour.
  • Use tongs to remove the chicken to a large plate and set aside. Continue to simmer the sauce until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes then add the chicken back in, using tongs to coat the chicken in the sauce.
  • Return the chicken to the pot and garnish with the sesame seeds, remaining green onion and cilantro. Serve the chicken over rice.

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