Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Chicken in Peanut Sauce with Fennel Slaw

I was sick with a nasty stomach flu a couple of weeks ago and missed out on the weekly trip to the grocery store. By Tuesday, I usually have some vague idea in mind of what I'm cooking on the weekend, but that particular week I had no desire to think of food at all, apart from bananas, crackers, and ginger ale. By Friday though, I was feeling much better and was actually hungry, so I thought I'd mosey on over to the Giant on Saturday to pick up some ingredients for dinner.

Nature had other plans, opening up the heavens and flooding us with rain. I scratched the idea of walking to the grocery store and instead looked in the freezer to see what fell out on my foot.

We were going to eat some cholesterol on Sunday, so I wanted to make something that was at least somewhat light. And after several days of bland food (including un-buttered toast and un-sauced pasta), I wanted to eat something that had bright, vibrant flavors. Asian flavors. All we had in the freezer that wasn't lamb or beef was a packet of chicken thighs, which was going to have to do the trick. There was a lone fennel bulb in the fridge, and a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter left in the jar. These seemingly disparate ingredients, when matched with coconut milk and sundry Asian condiments, made for a delicious and somewhat exotic dinner.

The peanut sauce recipe makes quite a lot. Store leftover sauce in a lidded container in the fridge and use as a pasta sauce or as a spread for a BLT.

For some reason, my camera recorded the pale green shade of both
fennel and cucumber as a pale fuchsia, which I corrected in Photoshop.
Look closely at the fennel on top and you'll see some pink remains.
Peanut Sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 15 oz can coconut milk minus 1/2 cup, well shaken (use half cup in banana bread recipe)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium pan. Add onion and cook on medium heat until lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside. Reserve pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, soy, ginger, Hoisin, honey, and red pepper flakes. When mixture starts to bubble, turn heat to low and add lime juice and reserved onion and garlic. Stir to combine and cook for about 15 minutes, until flavors have melded. Season with sesame oil, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1.5 cups chicken stock

In pan reserved from cooking onions, add chicken thighs and stock. Bring stock to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer chicken, covered, for about 45 minutes, until quite tender. At the end of the cooking time, turn up the heat to high in order to evaporate the remaining stock (if there appears to be a lot, pour it out) and to brown the chicken a bit (there should be enough residual oil/chicken grease to do so).

Fennel Slaw
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Chilli paste with Sweet Basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Allow to marinate for an hour or so before serving.

To serve:

Place chicken thigh on a bed of rice or some other nice starchy thing. Top with a generous dollop of peanut sauce and a handful of fennel slaw. If you'd like, garnish with some chopped scallion and carrot slivers.

Posted by theminx on