Meat and Potatoes… Korean Style!

So today yesterday I had a day off work, but Ben had a full day of classes, so I packed him dinner. I love cooking for him, partly because he’s so game to try just about anything I make, but also because it means I eat better. Since he was having a full day of classes, I thought he would enjoy something similar to what he has at home (meat + potatoes + salad), so something like comfort food – but with a twist.

Tonight we had chicken, potatoes, and salad, but it was chicken with a twist – it was chicken bulgogi style! Okay, so I didn’t make the bulgogi sauce from scratch, but the Korean marinade from H-Mart (thanks Roshni for introducing me to H-Mart) was an easy and welcome convenience. And no, it did not contain MSG.

This dish is super easy to make, a one-dish deal, shoved into the oven. The trick is in the marinading time. The longer you let it soak in, the more flavorful your dish.

So first the ingredients (chicken dish) (for two, with leftovers, depending on whether you eat 1 or 2 pieces)

  • 4 chicken thighs, defrosted
  • 1 large carrot
  • several mini potatoes
  • olive oil
  • bulgogi sauce
  • salt
  • pepper

So first you marinade the meat. I did this two nights ago, intending to cook it up last night, but never got round to it. That’s okay, the longer the marinading process, the tastier. Essentially I put two chicken thighs in the bowl, sprinkled salt and pepper over it, and spooned some bulgogi sauce over. Then I added a second layer of chicken and repeated the process.

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Don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly like this. This is how it looked after I pulled it out of the fridge. Sauce spreads!

Give the meat a chance to come back to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 and start on the vegetables. (Thanks for the carrot and potatoes Ben!)

Instead of just throwing in the potatoes and drizzling oil over it, I decided to rub them down with salt. This lifts the skin a little, making them slightly crispier (same as what you’ll do for a baked potato). Actually, instead of rubbing them down, I dipped and turned them in bowls of oil and salt. This meant a cleaner job, though the potatoes had a bit too much salt and needed to be scraped off after cooking (the salt scraped off easily since it crusted together and popped off smoothly from the raised skins).

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Grease or spritz down your baking tray or dish with oil, place chicken thighs flat in the dish and scatter vegetables around. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until juices run clear.

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If you want a slightly charred skin (or a crispier chicken skin as I was trying to do), move your chicken dish from the bottom rack to the top rack in your oven and switch it from bake to broil. A broiler essentially works like an upside down bbq, using infrared rays instead of heating the air around. I put it under the broiler on low for a few minutes. The skin didn’t char very much, but I learned why people with bbq may prefer to bbq their meat when grilling instead of using a broiler – a broiler causes oil to ‘dance’ and creates a mess! Good thing it was on low…

The result? Tasty, succulent meat with juices that ran, with juicy carrots that burst with sweetness from being roasted.

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See? Too much salt = crustiness. These brush off easily though so no worries there.

I was hesitant to use olive oil on the potatoes when the chicken was being marinaded with bulgogi sauce since I didn’t have flavorless (read: canola) oil. But the olive oil worked well with the bulgogi chicken. Sometimes using what’s in the pantry means happy chances! I’ve been wondering how the flavor profile of the dish would change if sesame oil was used instead of olive oil on the potatoes though. Certainly it would go with the bulgogi sauce, but it may overpower it in a way that the olive doesn’t. If anyone tries this, let me know how it turns out!

The side salad was super easy to make – rocket leaves, olives (thank you party event at work for leaving so many of these beautifully plump beauties behind), feta, and blackberries (thank you late summer and family run grocers for great prices!).

Since Ben likes green olives, he had green. I got to enjoy another colour for dinner that night.

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Having grown up with a very different plate for dinner, this was a fun ‘regular dinner plate’ to make up, which I picked up from Ben’s mom. The verdict? Ben said he would like it again. Including the salad. Win! 😀

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