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Asian-style chicken a simple dish to make

Wed., Jan. 13, 2010, midnight

I’m a big fan of one-pot meals, especially ones that really cook in one pot, start to finish. Not only is cleanup a snap, but I find that if the vegetables are part of the mix, the chances that everyone will eat them increase exponentially.

In this case, two of my favorite vegetables, carrots and baby bok choy, are part of the meal. The directions do go on a bit, but don’t be intimidated. The skills required to make this dish are pretty basic.

Soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil are used here as seasonings and are not meant to overwhelm the natural flavors of the other ingredients.

Asian-Style Braised Chicken Thighs With Carrots and Bok Choy

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 1/2 to 4 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (8 large or 16 small), trimmed of any excess fat

1 (2-inch) piece peeled ginger root, cut into quarter-size coins

2 (3- to 4-inch-long) strips orange peel

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

8 scallions, white and light-green parts, cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 pound baby bok choy, trimmed and separated into individual leaves if large, kept whole if small, cleaned and trimmed

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat the oil in a shallow braising pan or roasting pan over medium-high heat. (The pan should be large enough to hold all of the chicken pieces comfortably; you may need to use 2 burners.)

Add the chicken thighs, skinned side down; do this in batches if the pan is too crowded. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the chicken has some brown color, then turn over the pieces and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Scatter the ginger and strips of orange peel around the pan, then add the carrot and scallion pieces, distributing them around the chicken.

Add the 1/2 cup orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce and sesame oil. Once the liquid comes to a boil, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake large chicken thighs for 40 minutes; bake small chicken thighs for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and uncover. Place the bok choy on top of the chicken; it will cover most of the pan. Re-cover and return to the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving bowl or platter. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots and bok choy to the platter. Place the pan with the remaining liquid over high heat and bring to a boil, discarding the pieces of ginger and orange peel.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of orange juice with the cornstarch in a small cup, then add to the pan, whisking until well blended. As soon as the liquid thickens, remove the pan from the heat.

Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken and the vegetables; serve hot.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition per serving: 152 calories, 10 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 34 milligrams cholesterol, 251 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 1 gram sugar.

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