The ingredient list and techniques below were adapted from the New York Times’ Cooking Blog. If there is one thing you can do to improve upon the procedures, it’s to add more chicken and spoon it over rice to stretch it out over more than four servings!
Serves 4, cooking time approximately 1 and 1/2 hours
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs (about 4 pieces), skin removed*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups (about 12 ounces) diced daikon radish
- ¼ cup minced ginger
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 pieces star anise
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces or smaller**
- Put the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and cook, turning the pieces as they release easily from the pan, until they’re well browned on both sides, 8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot.
- Add the onion, daikon and ginger to the pot and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, soy sauce, lime juice and star anise and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the chicken and adjust the heat to medium-low.
- Cook the chicken, covered, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the squash. Simmer, stirring occasionally and adding enough stock to keep it from sticking, until the squash is tender, 20 minutes.
- Fish out and discard the star anise. Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve.
Below are a few notes on preparing the chicken and butternut squash for this recipe.
*Removing the skin from chicken thighs is much easier than it appears. Simply peel back the skin from the joint of each piece, and discard. Removing the skin for this recipe is important because the skin of the chicken will turn rubbery while braising, giving the end dish an unpleasant texture.
**To prepare the butternut squash, you’ll want to slice the squash in half so the bulb on the bottom is separate from the neck of the squash. Halve the bulb and scoop the seeds out, and then peel the whole squash with a Y-peeler. I would recommend slicing the neck into medallions for easy cubing.
While star anise and daikon radish may be difficult to find in your area, it’s well worth a trip to your nearest Asian grocer. And if you end up with a little more than the indicated amount of squash or radish, definitely add it to the stew! There is more than enough flavor to go around.