COOK CLUB: Ingredient swaps offer recipe redemption

Carly Weber
Published: February 6 2014 | 8:46 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:16 am in

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Neither as far as this month’s The Gazette KCRG-TV9 Cook Club recipe is concerned.

It started with clementines. Actually, it started with overripe, squishy clementines, perfect to stew in a slow cooking braise. These clementines led to this month’s recipe Clementine & Coconut Milk Braised Chicken. A recipe that my husband said he could eat every day. Thank you, clementines.

My first attempt at creating this recipe did not elicit his enthusiastic response.

Instead, his reaction to the first version was less than flattering.

“It tastes like under seasoned chicken soup,” he said.

I completely agreed as I squeezed more sriracha onto my dish to compensate for the complete lack of flavor.

Instantly, I knew that the problem with the original recipe was too much chicken broth and not enough spices (although eight cloves of garlic and two tablespoons of ginger seemed like plenty at the time). I decided to use less liquid but keep my spices the same. I wanted to make sure, though, the liquid that I did use would pack more of a punch than chicken broth.

I abandoned the chicken broth completely and instead embraced the Asian leanings of this recipe by upping the soy sauce and adding rice vinegar. These ingredients would also counter balance the sweetness coming from the clementines and coconut milk.

I also removed the chicken and vegetables from the braising liquid after they were done cooking to reduce and thicken the broth ever so slightly. In the end, the result is a healthy recipe full of flavor. The beauty of a semi-failure (not a complete failure as the flavorless leftovers were reinvented into an herby chicken and dumpling soup) is the chance to redeem your recipe to make it a dish to repeat again and again.

Play with flavors that you like and make this recipe your own. If they aren't already pantry staples for you, find both coconut milk and rice vinegar in the Asian section of your grocery store. Or consider substituting rice vinegar with apple cider vinegar if you already have this on hand.


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