Saturday, August 8, 2009

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

I’m going to file this dish under couldn’t believe how good this was or how quickly it was made. This meal was on the table faster than ever even by weeknight meal standards, even with chicken that needed to be cut into cubes, even though I was reading and following a recipe instead of cooking from memory, and even with the time spent taking photos. Seriously, the rice took longer to simmer than the chicken and sauce to be made. This was one of the 30 Best, Fast Recipes Ever in Food and Wine last September, and it definitely qualifies. It’s from Charles Phan of San Francisco’s Slanted Door.

The dish is an easy combination of fairly common ingredients. The sauce is made with brown sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and Thai chiles. As I almost always do in savory applications, I chose to reduce the amount of sugar by a tablespoon or so. I usually also increase the amount of chiles, but I played by the rules in that regard this time. The recipe suggests two, halved Thai chiles, but I could go for three or four next time I make this. Once the sauce ingredients were combined, it was set aside while minced shallots were sauteed. Then, the sauce was added to the pan followed by the cubed chicken. That was left to simmer until the chicken was cooked through which took less than 15 minutes. It was served with jasmine rice and was garnished with cilantro.

I used chicken breast instead of the suggested thigh meat because of Kurt’s preference, and it cooked into a lovely tender state in the sauce. The balance of sweetness and chile heat was just right even though I wouldn’t have minded more spiciness, and all the other savory flavors from garlic, ginger, and fish sauce rounded out the sauce nicely. Kurt noted that it was ‘actually’ good. He’s well aware of my track record with Asian cuisine and tasted cautiously at first but then happily. I served the chicken and rice with some sauteed spinach and shitakes, and the roaming sauce on the plate was a welcome taste with the vegetables too. I love finding dishes like this that can become a part of our mid-week routine instead of being saved only for occasions when there’s plenty of time.




31 comments:

  1. I had something a little similar to this, but it didn't have any caramelization associated with it. All that peppery goodness sounds really good right now.

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  2. This looks absolutely yummy! I'm going to try this.

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  3. A wonderful dish! I love that combination!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. I've had my eye on this recipe for a long time, but was put off by the fish sauce. Does the end result taste at all fishy? I love food at Thai restaurants and I'm certain they put fish sauce in a lot of them, but I try to cook with fish sauce, that's all I smell and taste. Do you think there's a good substitute for it?

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  5. Anna: It really wasn't fishy at all. But, you could try it with soy sauce instead.

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  6. The chicken looked perfect with rice..

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  7. Lovely dish, look so tasty! gloria

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  8. I love going to the slanted door, one of my favorite restaurants! This sounds lovely.

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  9. This looks like something that could be a real winner with Hubby. Hope you had a fab weekend :)

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  10. chicken 'nuggets' for gastronomes - this looks and sounds mighty tasty!

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  11. I love an easy dish. And, Slanted Door is amazing. I will try this soon enough.

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  12. this looks perfect for when you don't want to have the stove for more than a few minutes. like here in texas during our 6 month long summer...i love 'roaming' sauce too and always include a way to try to corral it, like you, with rice, potatoes or bread. i'm tryin' it!

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  13. Love easy dishes! I'm definitely trying this soon!!

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  14. I'm always biased in favor of any dish that's served over rice but this is particularly marvelous. Just the word 'caramelized' would have been enough for me but the ingredients promise such layers of flavor! I'll take an extra scoop of rice to sop up all that wonderful sauce . . .

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  15. i have to try it!! i believe i smell it from here.. great!!! i need to taste it...

    thanks for sharing your recipes!!
    xooxxox

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  16. Slanted Door is considered one of the best restaurants in SF, and when you make it to SF, you'll be even more in love with the location as it is in the Ferry Building. I tried this recipe as well, and it is certainly a keeper, and I loved the flavor combinations.

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  17. I always love the combination of rice and chicken on a plate and this one looks great. The best is that it's easy as you say. I've never tried ginger in chicken dishes, sounds intriguing.

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  18. I love those quick, delicious recipes. What a great looking dish.

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  19. Sounds wonderful! I have to try it too. I love simple and delish recipes ; )

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  20. Delicious looking chicken dish. It's on my must try list!

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  21. I love chicken like this: what a yummie looking plate of food!

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  22. caramelized chicken?!!? what a notion! it sounds to me like a dish that would satisfy my protein needs, my craving for sweet, and my love of spicy all at once. awesome.

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  23. The ingredients used for the sauce sounds delicious. The dish must be very flavourful with the addition of chillies and black pepper. Luv it. ;)

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  24. wow!! vat a perfect and delicious meal!! i love the idea of caramelizing :) great combo!!

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  25. Wow, this chicken looks really yummie, love the pictures as well.

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  26. I love the flavors in this and the ease of preparing it! What a delicious dish!

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  27. That sauce with the rice would be a meal in its self for me...

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  28. This is a great recipe and a wonderful dish my family would love!

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  29. All the ingredients in the sauce sound great together! We're always looking for unique chicken dishes, so I'm going to save this one :)

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  30. I have cooked dry Black Pepper Chicken curry - indian style. This looks wayyy easier & very spicy:-) just the way i like it!

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  31. I cooked this and it's so tasty! Thanks for the link, can't wait to try out other recipes.

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