23 (Tue) March 2021
Grilled Chicken Breasts and Crispy Skins with Ssamjang in Romaine Wraps
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
GMTD Battles! (7) (see also BATTLES!)
For the latest installment of GMTD Battles!, the Chicken Cinquain challenge was to carve a whole chicken into 5 parts and cook 5 dishes, one dish for each part: wings + legs + thighs + breasts + carcass. The idea was hatched during a discussion about carving whole birds between GK and me in the wake of the duck challenge. Combatants were free to cook the dishes at their convenience, whether at once or in phases. The battle demanded 3 skills: 1) how to use up the whole bird, no waste; 2) how to highlight the different parts of the chicken, 3) how to create 5 different dishes that hold together as a single meal.
This time, we were joined by my best friend MtG, whose frequent presence and occasional cooking have been featured throughout GMTD (see most recently 12.074 Gold Mountain Shashlyk), including the inaugural post (see 1.001 Grilled Pork Galbi). Welcome!
Sadly, LJY was unable to join this one (though if she ever does finish the challenge, I will revise this post to include her submission).
As a home cook, one of my favorite tasks is carving whole chicken. Can’t recall if I’ve ever discussed the matter of GMTD, except once to post on carving up a whole duck (see 3.023 Pan-Fried Duck Breasts in Five-Spice Glaze with Shredded Leeks). I enjoy the physicality of working the knife into the joints, across the bones, through the flesh. I appreciate the opportunity to use the entire bird. I prefer that I can manipulate the pieces according to what I’m planning to cook. By now, I find the task strictly clinical, nothing at all icky about it, though I wonder if I could slaughter a live chicken, or clean a dead one that hasn’t been plucked and gutted.
I designed a menu with a Pan-Asian theme. Each dish was inspired by a different country in the region, though not precisely authentic to any of them. Trying to cook and serve the 5 courses within an hour – like a cooking show battle – no time for anything fancy. Just aiming for a simple harmony between a diverse range of ingredients, all tied together into the bird.
ONE – Thai Wings
Dusted in corn starch and deep fried. Served with sweet chili-ketchup sauce.
Simple and predictable, a good way to get things going.
TWO – Korean Breasts
Sliced into fingers, flash-marinated with Yeondu and sesame oil, pan-grilled. Separately, the skins were deep-fried (same oil as wings). Topped with ssamjang and laid on a romaine leaf as a wrap.
It was the only dish that involved any degree of thought, based on the Korean practice of wrapping grilled meats (i.e., “Korean BBQ”) in various greens, with creative license here applied to grilled chicken (Koreans don’t grill chicken) and deep-fried chicken skins (Koreans don’t deep-fry skins). The contrast of juicy breast and crispy skin worked well. Very nice.
THREE – Japanese Thighs
Pan-seared then stir-fried with broccoli into a yakiudon, taking a shortcut with a noodle kit (see 11.194 Garlic Teriyaki Udon with Shrimp).
In my haste, I failed to heat the wok hot enough to get color and crust on the thighs. But otherwise not bad.
FOUR – Filipina Legs
Skinned and braised with potatoes in adobo sauce, which was reduced until thickened to a glaze. Eggs added at the end to preserve the medium boiled yolks. Should’ve tossed everything together to get a more even distribution of the glaze and make for a neater presentation.
Very good, appearance aside. Paired nicely with the congee.
FIVE – Chinese Bones
Boiled with aromatics to produce a clear stock. Meat was picked off the bones. Stock and meat were simmered with jasmine rice and ginger to make congee. Alas, having achieved a perfectly silky consistency, then letting it sit to be reheated just before serving, I screwed up in the end by asking W to do the reheat, whereupon she turned the stove on high and, within seconds, turned it into chunky slop, as Korean rice porridge tends to be. Garnished with scallions and zhacai.
Anyway, it was still good.
This was one of the most intense cooking experiences of my life, having to prepare 5 dishes from scratch – no recipes, no measuring spoons, no thermometers, no timers – and manage them concurrently to converge in completion at the same time. It ended up taking closer to 2 hours – coulda pulled it off with a bigger kitchen and more stove burners, or with a capable sous chef (one who doesn’t overcook the congee).
I appreciate that the battle got me to turn a chicken, not a very big one, into a filling and healthful and cheap meal of distinct yet complementary flavors and textures, all for a family of four.
[NOTE: all comments in this section are in GK’s own words.]
Day 1 (Saturday March 20th)
I bought the chickens. The bigger, left one was a Swedish “corn chicken” (a chicken that has been fed with corn all it’s life, thus making it bigger and also giving the meat a yellowish tone). The other chicken was from France.
The cutting process went pretty well (considering it was the first time I tried it). Youtube videos provided a lot of help.
The carcass was used for making chicken stock. It was boiled together with leek, carrots, onion, pepper, bay leafs etc for several hours. The ingredients were then drained and the remaining stock was boiled down to a much more concentrated state (see the photo of glass jar).
1. Legs of Fire
The chicken thighs were used to make a Tex-Mex dish called “legs of fire” (see recipe). The thighs were coated in olive oil, paprika powder, chili pepper powder, cayenne pepper, white pepper, oregano, then fried in the oven at 175 degrees celsius for 30 minutes. Then, a BBQ-sauce consisting of onion, garlic, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, ketchup and chili powder was added on top, and the thighs were put into the oven at maximum temperature for a while (in order for the sauce to solidify).
The thighs turned out pretty good. The BBQ-sauce was still not really solid as I think it should have been, but the taste was still really good. Definitely something I will make again in the future, probably using other parts of the chicken.
2. Rosemary-Roasted Root Vegetables with Chicken Breasts
The breasts were first pan-fried to get some coating, then fried in the oven until they reached a temperature of 72 degrees (see recipe). It was served with sliced parsnip, potatoes and carrots that had been mixed with rosemary and oil and fried in the oven, together with a sauce made out of honey, yogurt and a grated apple.
This dish was also good, but I found the breasts to be a tad dry (my friend didn’t agree with me on that though). The seasoning was also a little bland, maybe because we had just had a pretty spicy Tex-Mex dish to start of the meal.
We also enjoyed a Swedish Easter beer. I thought it was kinda fitting with the chicken on the label considering the theme of the night.
Day 2 (Sunday March 21st)
3. Chicken Drumsticks with Herbs and Garlic
For lunch, I cooked the legs (see recipe). I started off with making a marinade consisting of olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, lemon, cayenne pepper, oregano, black pepper, salt and thyme. The legs were coated in the marinade, I let it rest for about an hour then fried it in the oven until they reached 82 degrees. I then served it with a gratin consisting of different sliced vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and black olives as well as tzatziki.
This dish was pretty solid as well. I guess it’s hard to fail with chicken legs?
4. Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Chicken Stock
For dinner, I cooked soup out of the stock from the day before (see recipe). It was a Jerusalem artichoke soup. The artichoke was peeled, sliced and then pan-fried until it got some color. Minced shallots and garlic were then added. It was then boiled together with wine, the chicken stock and some cream. After boiling for a while, then artichoke was then blended to get a smooth texture, and then put through a strainer. It was then served with fried bacon on top.
A pretty good dish. I had never tried Jerusalem artichoke before, but I found the taste good. It also paired well with the rich chicken stock.
Day 3 (Monday March 22nd)
5. Yangnyeom Chicken Wings
Finally, I used the wings to make yangnyeom chicken (양념치킨) (see recipe). The wings were coated in ginger, salt, black pepper, potato starch and then deep fried twice, then mixed with a sauce made out of ketchup, honey, gojuchang, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil. I served it with french fries and some hamburger sauce (used for the fries).
I liked the taste of the wings, but found eating it a big too messy (eating wings with the help of knife and fork is not possible, at least according to me, and the sticky sauce was a little too messy to make it comfortable to eat with my hands).
All in all it was a good challenge since:
- I learned how to cut up a chicken
- I was challenged to come up with different dishes for each of the parts.
- I got to try out some new recipes as well as ingredients.
The ultimate challenge would have been to serve all five dishes in one evening. I found that challenge insurmountable though.
I’m really curious to find out what the other participants have cooked.
[NOTE: all comments in this section are in MtG’s own words, originally written in Korean on his own blog (see Project: One Chicken) and translated by the Google Chrome; I considered editing the parts that don’t make sense – “And ying to the goonchae…” – but left it as is, for obvious reasons.]
I’m participating for the first time, and I decided to try it with my son SJ, as a recipe that I have not tried until now, if possible, using only the ingredients at home.
The first major project is the dismantling of chickens. I’ve been looking at dismantling a chicken several times through YouTube and other materials, but I was a little worried that I could do it well because it was my first time doing it.
It’s not bad to hit it for the first time.
The flesh was not applied perfectly and neatly, but the necessary areas were fortunate to be dismantled in some form. Legs, thighs, chicken sticks, wings, tender peace of mind, breast… And the rest of the bones etc.
1. Nacho Tempura Chicken Tenderloin-Fried and Breast-Fried
The first dish was to be tenderloin and fried for SJ. While I was thinking about what to do with my tempura clothes, I finished eating nacho chips and tried to grind them with a mixer.
Chicken tenderloin is once buried in flour, buried in deep-fried dough, rolled into nacho flour, and frying in 180-degree oil…
Crispy and well cooked. One thing I don’t know is that the nachos were ground into a mixer and powdered too much… I’d rather put it in a plastic bag and pat it with a hammer-like thing to make it into small crumbs, so the texture wouldn’t have been more crunchy.
2. Aspic (Meat Jelly) Using Chicken Stock
In fact, I thought I should try this dish because of this one photo from TimeLife, an old cookbook at home, “The World’s Luxury Cuisine: Eggs and Cheese.”
I want the meat stock to be made like jelly using gelatin. Of course, in this book, we use natural gelatin that boils cartilage or foot feet for a long time, not product gelatin… I didn’t want to be so focused, so I used commercial gelatin.
Anyway, you have to pay for the stock once… One chicken was packed together with white vinegar, and the water, garlic, spring onions, and whole pepper were boiled for about two hours, and the broth was poured. Eight arms are boiling well. Once it starts to boil, reduce to medium heat and simmer for an hour or so before letting it go.
And ying to the goonchae…
Even if you use good vegetables, the broth is very turbid. In this way, the jelly cannot come out transparently. So I used a coffee dripper at the end of the labor and filtered it into the filter. At first, the impurities are sticking to the filter, but after a little, the broth does not filter. After the filter paper was 3 times or so, only about 500ml of clear chicken meat was gained. Now boil over low heat, season with salt and dissolve commercial gelatin.
The jelly frame didn’t make it, so I made a bowl for each size at home. Place the gelatin-melted chicken stock in a bowl and add one boiled egg. I hope you can build it beautifully…. It should never be so.
I refrigerated it in a bowl for about an hour and pulled it out… Did you get too little gelatin…. It feels like a runny nose.
I tried again by putting the stock again and doubling the gelatin earlier this time… This time it came out right. Hahahaha.
I’m half-cut…. A section of fried eggs with jelly came out pretty.
I tried chicken meat jelly on an egg. The richness of chicken meat and the egg yolks go well together.
Success to !!!! ..
3. Grilled Chicken Legs Bacon and Potato Oven with Barbecue Sauce
How to cook chicken legs. Long ago, I thought that the handmade bacons, which had been cold East Sea and left cold as a gift to the potato soup, were thawed a day in advance, sliced and prepared, and the chicken legs were turned into knives under the joints, so that only the chicken legs were collected in a circle.
The chubby legs were turned around with homemade beacons and fixed to the cooking room.
Potatoes were laid on the bottom and sprinkled with salt, heonju, rosemary and olive oil. Cooked in a 200-degree oven for 30 minutes. Apply barbecue sauce to the raw chicken legs and cook in a 230-degree oven for a further 10 minutes.
The chicken legs with potatoes are made with bacon!
4. Fried Chicken Thigh Cheese with Green Vegetables
Spread the chicken legs wide, add mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and a green pepper, and use a wrap to roll it up like kimbap and freeze it in the freezer for about 2 hours.
This time, remove the leftover meat bread from the freezer to fry it with breadcrumbs and grind it into a food process.
Remove the frozen chicken meat, flour > egg water > breadcrumbs and fry in 180-degree oil until cooked through with golden brown. If you cut it with a knife and put it on the plate so that the tempura does not break~…. The end~!
I would like to do a good hand with cheongyang gochu. Do you feel the feeling of tempura?
5. Garlic Cola Wings
The recipe for the dish is YouTube and I’ve seen it a long time ago… I’m thinking, “I’m going to have to do it someday.” This time I finally tried it. Pepsi-Cola was also in the fridge, which no one in my house had to eat as a service to the delivery service.
The material is simple. A lot of garlic. Chicken sticks, chicken wings, ginger salt (no need), coke, soy sauce, cheongyang gochu… The chicken wings are cooked back and forth in the munser oil…. Stir-fry with garlic liver and two tablespoons of soy sauce. If some garlic is cooked…. Add half a bottle of coke and sliced green pepper and cook until the coke is done.
The salty soy sauce and the sweetness of the coke… And the taste of garlic goes perfectly well together. This is the next time you buy a product that only contains a lot of wings, and you have to eat it again. It’s really, really delicious.
It was a fun time to cook for a long time, from chicken seafood to cooking. It’s not a daily dish to cook for guests at the store or to feed the family, but it’s a pleasure to find something new and try it. For some reason, I’m so excited about the topic next month.
[NOTE: all comments in this section are in NH’s own words]
Got our lovely whole chicken here.
And all butchered up and deboned, separated into breasts, wings, thighs, and legs. Note the lil chicken oysters attached to the thigh meat – in French we call them ‘sot-l’y-laisse’ (roughly: the fool leaves them on there).
The carcass and skin. In hindsight, I could’ve made my life a lot easier by separating the legs before deboning, but I really wanted the image of a somewhat intact skeleton.
The skin itself I managed to remove in a single piece, like a macabre chicken balloon. Would be interesting to try to sew it into a casing and stuff it like a sausage…perhaps a project for the future.
1st Course : Classic Chicken Vegetable Soup
I tossed the carcass into my pressure cooker, along with the Chinese standard aromatics (ginger, garlic, green onion), and set it for 2.5 hrs to make some chicken stock. I used the chicken stock to make a soup. After I removed the bones and meat, I added in diced carrots, celery, potato, onion, and parsley, salt and pepper, and let it boil. Near the end of cooking I tossed in some chicken breast and chopped napa cabbage.
It turned out quite well overall.
2nd Course : Chicken Mushroom Roulade with Squash Puree, Strawberry Spring Greens Salad, and Crispy Chicken Skin
For the second course, I planned a chicken mushroom roulade.
I chopped onions and a mix of trumpet, shitake, and button mushrooms finely and cooked them down into a paste with butter and some balsamic vinegar. I spread the mixture onto a butterflied chicken breast. This is where my lack of butchery experience came back to bite me in the a**, so to speak. There were definitely some ‘leaky’ sections upon rolling, but overall the structural integrity was adequate.
The next step was cooking the roulade sous vide (145C, for about 50 minutes).
In the meantime I boiled some squash and carrot, and pureed this with parmesan and cream.
I had such high hopes for the chicken skin. I cut the skin so it would lie flat and sandwiched it between two baking pans, following an online recipe for chicken skin crackers. To my dismay, this was an utter disaster. The cooking time was way off and left me with largely charred skin and a smoking oven. What a waste. My chicken-skin-loving self was quite devastated. I salvaged what I could but most of the skin was beyond an edible state.
The chicken roulade was great, though clearly the most time consuming.
In the future, I’d try my hand at searing the roulade post sous-vide cooking, or trying different fillings.
The leftover mushroom filling was absolutely delicious on a fresh baguette.
3rd Course : Spicy Chicken Wings
The wings and dark meat I marinated with Lebanese seven-spice and a pinch of cayenne. I roasted these at around 425F.
4th Course : Shish Tawook with Roasted Vegetables
For the shish, I added slivered peppers, button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes halfway during cooking.
5th Course : Tavuk Gogsu
The dessert was definitely the most intriguing part. ‘Tavuk gogsu’ is a Turkish pudding made using shredded chicken breast, essentially the ancestor of blancmange. The chicken breast had to be boiled and shredded, and washed repeatedly to render it bland…its role in the final product is more of a textural and thickening agent, along with rice flour and cornstarch.
This is quite a thick pudding and could be cut into slices upon cooling.
The full spread. 😊
In summary, this was a challenging meal to prepare, with all the different timings and equipment and prep steps. To be honest, I don’t often deal with whole chickens, since I prefer dark meat and chicken legs are literally the cheapest meat you can buy here. But I really enjoyed planning this meal and the entire cooking process. Apart from the chicken skin fiasco, everything else turned out very tasty, if I do say so myself. Thanks for letting me be a part of this challenge! Excited to see everyone’s entries. 😊
When proposed, this challenge didn’t seem very daunting: just use up a single whole chicken. But, fully embracing the spirit of battle, everyone (else – me, not as much) created a unique spread of unique dishes, experimenting with new recipes, new techniques, new ingredients.
PRAGMATISM AWARD: Admittedly, I didn’t really push myself with any of my individual dishes. However, making the best use of my existing skills, I did create a very practical spread that achieved its ultimate purpose.
INSPIRATION AWARD: Two of GK’s dishes most made me think that I would like someday to try cooking them: Legs of Fire (also wins the Best Dish Name Award) (coincidentally looks identical to MtG’s Cola Wings) and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (though probably the dish that least tasted like chicken – tied, perhaps, with MtG’s aspic egg). Bonus points for the Yangnyeom Wings (a Korean dish), which are not typically paired with fries but, as GK’s plating shows, should. Bonus points for chicken-branded beer (no idea what an “Easter beer” is). Minus points for using 2 chickens. Bonus points for showcasing 2 different types of chicken (did they taste different?).
AVANT GARDE AWARD: MtG was most creative in his use of ingredients (e.g., crushed tortilla breading, cola glaze) and techniques (e.g., aspic, bacon-wrapping, stuffed-rolled-frozed-breaded-fried) (I repeat: aspic!). When I invited him to participate, and he asked, “Is it okay if I just make a few things from what I already have in the kitchen?”, I just knew that he was pulling his standard fake modesty shtick, and I’m so glad that he didn’t disappoint (he never does, hence Best Friend). Bonus points for carefully including a cilantro leaf, maybe the same leaf, on all the aspic photos. Minus points for using Pepsi, even if it’s what he had on hand.
TABLE d’HÔTE AWARD: While we are all winners here, NH’s spread best embodies the essence of the challenge: it was made at one time (not essential but preferred), the menu had a unified theme (sorta Mediterranean, with French, Lebanese, Arabic, Turkish influences), the courses had a progression (from soup to starters to salads to mains to dessert), every dish highlighted its chicken part (except maybe the tavuk gogsu) (though overwhelmingly compensated for by the chicken skin thing, which may have been something of a failure, but nevertheless was quite revelatory!), and every dish was thoughtfully conceived (shish tawook!) and immaculately executed (sous vide!). Minus points for introducing emojis to GMTD. Minus points for strawberries in the salad. Bonus points for a leftover box that looks too perfect to be true.
What next? To use a Beatles analogy, this battle was like Sgt Pepper in its scope and grandeur and dynamic; I feel like the next battle should bring it back to basics, like The Beatles (i.e., “White Album”) (setting aside that album’s own inherent hubris, for the sake of this simple metaphor). As such, rather than a specific ingredient, I propose that each of us makes a comfort dish. It should be a dish that would actually give comfort to you or that you would make for a loved one, not some random recipe that you find on-line. Good luck!!
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)