Well it’s been a long old pause over here, hasn’t it? Somehow over winter I went into full-on hibernation mode and lost my way a bit with cooking and writing. Then daylight savings time ended and suddenly all I wanted to do was get back into the kitchen, flip through my recipe books and eat, eat, eat.
I’ve loved Gizzi Erskine’s A Healthy Appetite since I bought it, but well over a year later I am still cooking new things from it, and am still yet to have a bad recipe from it’s pages. This Korean chicken and potato stew is the latest success, and even though I swapped a few things around based on the original recipe, it worked perfectly. It’s an ideal spring supper: packed full of flavour but warming from all the chilli and spice on evenings that aren’t quite balmy just yet.
The only thing you really do need to make it authentic is gochujang – a little big sweet, definitely spicy, slightly funky Korean chilli sauce. I located some in our local Morrisons so I don’t think it’s that hard to track down (Waitrose also have a version in their Cooks’ Ingredients range). Apart from that, it’s just a straightforward chicken stew: but a whole lot better than the name might suggest.
Korean Chicken and Potato Stew, adapted from Gizzi Erkine's A Healthy Appetite
6-8 chicken thighs, skin on
1 onion, halved
3 cloves of garlic
300g baby potatoes, halved
2 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp hot chilli flakes
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp tomato puree
300ml chicken stock
200g green beans, halved
4 spring onions, each chopped into three
Start by taking one half of the onion, and blitzing together in a mini blender with the ginger, garlic and a splash of water to create a smooth puree. Season the chicken thighs and then brown over a high heat until the skin is golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Take the other onion half, roughly quarter, and add to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to blacken and remove from the heat. Pour in the puree, turn down to medium and let it cook until golden brown and fragrant. Use the liquid in the puree to scrap up all the chicken fond that sticks to the bottom. Once it's turned golden, return the chicken thighs to the pan, and nestle the potatoes all around.
Pour over the gochujang, soy, chilli, vinegar, puree and stock, and let it simmer over a medium-low heat for 35 minutes with a lid on. Once that time is up, add the green beans and spring onions, and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid off. The chicken should be falling off the bone and the potatoes tender.
Serve with fresh spring onion, sesame seeds and plenty of rice.
Confession time: when I first picked up Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite, having had to wait or too after it first sold out, I was actually a little disappointed. After all the instagram and twitter hype of how this book was here to nourish the body, feed the soul and revolutionise how we think about healthy eating… the first two recipes the book opens with are smoothies of the green juice variety. So far, so Deliciously Ella.
But once I got past that, and properly into the pages, I was back on the bandwagon. There are SO MANY good recipes in this, and they all prioritise taste over calories – which is just the way I like to eat.
Most surprisingly of all, having steadily resisted the lure of cauliflower rice over the past few years, what did the first recipe I made from the book contain? Yep, cauliflower rice. Turns out when spiced up with kedgeree style flavours, loaded with smoked mackerel and sprinkled with coriander and mint, it’s bloody delicious. And now the weather is finally turning, I have a whole list of cold weather recipes that I can’t wait to try: ox cheek goulash and dak dori tang both being high on the list.
This probably isn’t for you if you don’t already have a degree of kitchen confidence as Gizzi advocates deboning your chicken, and deep-frying your own wings, but otherwise, don’t hold back on buying it. Smoothies aside, the focus is on flavour packed food from across the globe (kimchee features heavily) that will make you feel good inside and out. The woman’s a genius.
Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite is available now (at the bargainous price of £7 on Amazon)