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Thai Braised Chicken with Sesame Cilantro Rice

February 15, 2011

The new issue of Bon Appetit had some great recipes in it, and I was immediately drawn to this one, which was

thai chicken

originally for spareribs.  I figured I could make it work for chicken, which cut way down on the time it took to make it.  It was a pretty simple dish overall and very, very flavorful.  The sauce reduces down into a sweet peanut-ty, coconut-ty sauce that’s good to drench your plate in.  This serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

6 whole chicken legs (drumstick and thigh), skin removed
2 large lemongrass stalks
1/4 c soy sauce (or more, depending on taste)
1/3-1/2 c (packed) golden brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 cup dry Sherry
2 T  Thai peanut sauce (if you don’t have this try peanut butter with 1/4 t curry powder instead)
2 T  Asian sesame oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
For the rice:
1 1/2 c basmati rice
1 1/2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
1 T peanut oil
1 t Asian sesame oil
8 large green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 T sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

For the chicken: Remove the tender heart of the lemongrass and slice into thin rounds.  Place in blender along with the soy sauce, sugar, Sherry, peanut sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger; blend until almost smooth. Blend in coconut milk and any additional soy sauce to get a good balance of flavors.  Pour marinade into a bag with the chicken and marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F.   Place chicken and marinade in a large glass baking dish and bake, uncovered until chicken is tender, about 45 minutes.  Baste the chicken often with with marinade.  Once chicken is done, remove the remaining marinade from the pan and place in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and reduce sauce until it’s the consistency of a thick curry sauce or gravy.
For the rice:

Combine rice, ginger, and 2 1/2 cups water in heavy large saucepan; sprinkle generously with salt.  Bring to boil over high heat, stirring once. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat peanut oil and sesame oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and sauté until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove ginger from rice. Season rice to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon rice into bowl. Sprinkle rice with cilantro and sesame seeds, then green onions.

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