Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Braised Thai Drumsticks

Chicken Drumsticks: A Haiku

Tender and juicy
So very affordable
Always overlooked

People turn up their noses at dark meat - especially when it's still on the bone. But most of what you're paying for when you shell out $9 for three boneless, skinless, chicken breasts is the labor of the bone and skin removal. And I think dark meat is just so much more flavorful! To be sure, not everyone agrees, but for those of you who appreciate dark meat in all its succulent glory, cooking with chicken drumsticks is a great way to stretch your dinner dollar at the, ahem, end of the month.

I got 6 organic, free range chicken drumsticks for about $2.75 at Trader Joe's, and this meal all in all (counting the meatless leftovers I packed for my lunch tomorrow) made about 4 servings. Drumsticks, besides being an economical choice, are also perfect for a quick braise. When you braise them (as opposed to, say, frying them), you can always be sure they'll be fully cooked - if you've ever bitten into a drumstick that's been fried golden brown on the outside but is raw on the inside, you can understand my paranoia.

The easy, yet exotic, flavors of this easy intro-to-Thai braise might just make you white-meat-only people out there reconsider your poultry preferences. And if you just can't walk away from your precious breast meat, be my guest - chicken breasts would work great in this dish too. So screw takeout! Make a fantastic Thai-inspired dish at home. You can do it :-)


6 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
2-3 T. grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, in chunks
1/2 large white onion, in chunks
2 large Roma tomatoes, in chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 serrano pepper with all seeds (optional)
1/2 c. chicken broth
pinch of salt
1 head broccoli, in florets
2 T. Sriracha hot sauce (or less, to taste)
2 heaping T. natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
1 T. honey
2 heaping T. brown sugar
juice of one lime
big pinch of salt
1 can light coconut milk
brown rice for serving
fresh chopped cilantro for serving


In a large pot with tight-fitting lid or a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove from pan and reduce heat to medium. Set chicken aside. Preheat oven to 375.


In a large bowl, whisk together the Sriracha, peanut butter, lime juice, salt, honey, and brown sugar. Whisk in the coconut milk.


Add the bell peppers, onions, serrano pepper and tomatoes to the oil still in the pan from the chicken - be careful, it will splatter something fierce. Throw in a little salt and stir around, scraping any chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, add the chicken broth and garlic. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple minutes.


Stir the peanut butter-coconut milk mixture into the veggies in the pan. Add the broccoli. Bring to a simmer, then nestle the chicken down into the sauce and veggie mixture. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and transfer the whole thing to the oven. Meanwhile, cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove.


Remove the chicken from the oven and serve with the sauce and veggies over rice. Top with cilantro and a few lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!

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