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Let this dish add some spice to your recipe box

Sep. 20, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Although I ignore quite successfully the hint of cool breezes in the air, I cannot let go of my sandals just yet. I mean, I realize school is back in session and highlights of football games are being splashed all over Facebook -- which, in my mind, screams fall -- but the days are still hot and relatively long and in terms of food, that should mean light meals full of summer vegetables still rule.

But I can't help it. As soon as September, the gateway to fall, arrives I begin thinking all things pertaining to hot and slow cooked. I crave soup even in the summer but wow, when fall slumbers in I want to curl up and feast in the lap of comfort gone wild.

The deeper the flavor, the more intense the level of satisfaction a meal delivers -- which is why I think I love a good soup on a chilly crisp afternoon. Anything slow cooked promises bottomless dividends of savory goodness, no matter what you're cooking. So, in my quest to satisfy my fiercely rooted notions of comforting food, I stumbled across a Korean style chicken I just had to tweak and wheedle.

I have a small confession. Asian food for the longest time toyed with me. It seemed every recipe I executed just didn't have the same flavors I grew to love in my favorite authentic restaurants. I half believed a secret ingredient or two was withheld to throw me off and that a conspiracy was forming as my lack of Asian cooking skills still remained.

What I learned is American Asian food does lack some key ingredients and a little research has turned me on to some really cool recipes that you can make just as successfully and of course, it's quick and easy. This is one such recipe. There is some heat involved in the making of this dish, but not so much you can't enjoy the spicy combination of the chicken that literally falls off the bone and the potatoes that serve as a bland canvas the chicken plays up to.

KOREAN SIZZLE CHICKEN

5 chicken legs, skin on

5 chicken thighs, skin on

4 potatoes, diced

8 mushrooms, chopped

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 cup sake (you can use dark Yuengling)

11/2 T. Korean chili paste (I have used red curry paste, also)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 T. sesame oil

5 cloves garlic, smashed loosely

1 red onion, chopped

3 T. rice wine vinegar

2 bay leaves

3 T. honey or 1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped

2 cups rice cooked

In a crock pot place all ingredients except the potatoes, mushrooms, rice and cilantro.

Put the potatoes and mushrooms in the last hour of cooking. Place on high and cook for at least 6 hours.

Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve over rice.

Janet McCormick is the owner of The Tea Room Cafe in Proctorville, Ohio, and the author of "10-Minute Meals." She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.

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