Sesame Braised Chicken with Squash and Chard

Dinners around here tend to be simple: roast chicken and potatoes, salmon with vegetables and rice, that sort of thing. There’s always a protein, some sort of carb and plenty of greens and vegetables, and the preparation’s always easy- we roast and grill a lot.
But sometimes I come across a recipe that makes me want to change things up a bit; this was one of them. I found it while flipping through an old Bon Appetit magazine and the picture of the mahogany burnished, sesame garnished chicken stopped me in my tracks. I quickly started writing a grocery list.
It was everything I could have hoped for. The chicken is tender and full of flavor from the braise, the sauce is soy salty and infused with spice from the chiles and Gochujang , and the Mirin, brown sugar and honey lend sweetness and depth. The greens and squash are silky, fall apart soft thanks to the long braise and it all goes spectacularly with a bit of rice- white or brown- on the side.
I love that this isn’t the standard chicken and rice dinner. I love that it tastes like takeout, but so much better. And mostly, I love that it’s all made in one pot. Less dish, more delish. That’s a win in my book.

Sesame Braised Chicken with Squash and Chard

Serves: 3-4

Adapted from here

Why I love this recipe: Toasted sesame oil, ginger, Mirin, soy sauce and Gochujang add Asian flavors that are reminiscent of the best take-out but with much healthier, fresher ingredients and braising everything in one pot means the flavors truly seep into the food- plus, it makes cleanup so much easier.

Notes: the chicken can be braised 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat covered over low heat.

Variations: use dry white wine in place of the Mirin. Sub sriracha for the Gochujang. Serve with brown rice. Use any leafy green such as kale, mustard or collard greens instead of the Swiss chard.

For the chicken:

  • 3-4 skin-on, bone-in chicken bottoms, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce and vegetables: 

  • 8 scallions, white and pale green parts sliced into 1-inch pieces, dark green parts thinly sliced
  • 4 dried chiles de árbol
  • one 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Mirin
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. Lightly season the chicken bottoms all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy pot over medium-high.
  3. Working in 2 batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is browned and crisp, around 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, placing skin side up (chicken will not be cooked through at this point).
  4. Cook white and pale green parts of scallions, chiles, and ginger in same pot, stirring often, until scallions and ginger are golden, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the mirin, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, Gochujang, sesame oil, and 1 1/2 cups broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  6. Return chicken to pot, placing skin side up and overlapping if needed. Partially cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 35-40 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  7. Add squash and remaining 1 cup broth to pot and push in squash so it’s mostly submerged. Arrange greens on top.
  8. Bring to a simmer, partially cover pot, and cook until squash is barely fork-tender and greens are wilted, around 15 minutes.
  9. Uncover, increase heat to medium, and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by about two-thirds and has the consistency of thin gravy, 10–15 minutes.
  10. Remove pot from heat and taste sauce; it should be plenty salty, but season with more salt if needed.
  11. Add chicken back to pot, turning to coat in sauce, then scatter dark green parts of scallions and sesame seeds over top. Serve with rice.

Sesame Braised Chicken with Squash and Chard

Sesame Braised Chicken with Squash and Chard

Sesame Braised Chicken with Squash and Chard

Sesame Braised Chicken with Squash and Chard

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