I saw a version of this recipe on Facebook recently, but that version used a whole chicken and roasted it in a cast-iron skillet with baby new potatoes.
I am a fan of Korean food and am also a fan of one-dish fix-it-and-forget-it meals, so I started mentally playing with this. I had some bone-in chicken breasts in my freezer, so I pulled them out to defrost. I didn’t have baby new potatoes, but I had carrots and some small-ish Yukon Golds, which I was confident would work just fine.
Gochujang was the only nonpantry ingredient, but I was able to find readily it at a small local grocery store. Gochujang is a red chili paste made with brown rice and fermented beans; it has a serious kick, but also delivers a funky complexity and a jot of sweetness.
And if you are a fan of this flavor profile but want a milder version, simply use more oil and less gochujang in the sauce. If you are not a fan, any sauce would work here; it’s more about the technique. Hoisin sauce, Sriracha, Thai chili or Indian curry paste would be great.
For variety, add to or swap out the potatoes for other root vegetables — try turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips or sunchokes, among others.
Because the main dish delivered so much flavor and contained both the meat and the vegetable, I just made a simple salad with an East Asian-style dressing. We skipped dessert, but if you are feeding the sweet toothed, sorbet topped with candied ginger or five spice, fresh fruit, gingerbread, coconut macaroons or spiced cookies would finish this meal nicely.
Korean Gochujang Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
½ cup gochujang
¼ cup oil
2 tablespoons grated ginger
8 peeled garlic cloves, divided
8 small potatoes, scrubbed and pricked
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the gochujang, oil, ginger and 2 cloves of garlic, minced, in a medium-sized bowl.
Place the chicken with ½ of the sauce mixture into a Tupperware container or large Ziploc bag. Coat the chicken thoroughly, rub it up under the skin and set it aside for 2-24 hours. Reserve the remaining sauce.
Heat your oven to 300 degrees.
Place the potatoes, carrots and remaining cloves of garlic in a bowl or sealed Ziploc bag to coat with sauce (if they don’t all fit, do this in batches). Pour the coated vegetables into the bottom of a large baking dish or ovenproof skillet.
Nestle the chicken pieces in the dish among the vegetables.
Roast for 2-2½ hours until the chicken is tender and slightly crisp and the vegetables are soft. This is a longer time than traditional chicken breasts cook; it is designed as a slow roast at a slightly lower temperature to ensure tenderness.
Remove the dish from the oven, and place the chicken on a plate. Using a potato masher or fork, crush each potato just enough to allow it to open and flatten slightly to absorb the sauce.
Spritz the potatoes and carrots with lime juice, add salt and pepper if needed and return the chicken to the pan on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with sliced scallions, and serve.
East Asian Salad
1 package spring mix or your favorite baby lettuce
1 avocado, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 lime wedge
1 scallion, white and green parts, sliced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon soy sauce
Generous sprinkle fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons oil
Place the lettuce, avocado and scallion in a salad bowl. Spritz the avocado with lime juice to prevent browning.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the vinegar, oil, soy sauce and pepper; whisk with fork.
Dress the salad, toss well and serve immediately.
Keri White is a Philadelphia-area food writer.