This week, Jeanne Deaton, executive assistant for the U.S. Army Military Police School’s Department of Training and Education, shares a recipe for Gochujang Chicken.
“I was told about gochujang sauce by a friend and I wanted to try it,” Deaton said. “I have never roasted anything in the oven uncovered and had my doubts. I was expecting it to come out dry. However, I was very pleasantly surprised cause it came out extremely juicy and very flavorful. Also, I was a little concerned about the sauce because it is very hot but it came out great. The potatoes had a little bite but that was all. This is the fifth time I’ve made this chicken and it has always gone over very well. Everyone loves it and someone always asks for the recipe.”
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1 3 ½-4 lbs. whole chicken
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
5 tbsp Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
¼ cup + 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads garlic
1 ½ pieces fresh ginger
1 ½ lbs. baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 tsp honey
1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 300 degrees. This is an important temperature for this recipe, so if you don’t have an oven thermometer already, get one. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place on a small rimmed baking sheet. Season whole chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.
2. Whisk Gochujang and ¼ cup olive oil in a medium bowl until combined. Finely grate 3 garlic cloves into the Gochujang mixture. Peel ginger, then grate into the mixture as well; whisk to combine.
3. Cut what’s left of the head of garlic in half crosswise. Repeat with the second head of garlic. Stuff 2 garlic halves inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
4. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the Gochujang mixture over the chicken.
5. Toss the potatoes, remaining garlic halves and 2 tbsp oil in the remaining Gochujang mixture until everything is well coated. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss again to combine.
6. Arrange the potatoes in a 12” cast-iron skillet, scooting them toward edges of the pan to make space for the chicken. Nestle garlic halves (cut sides down) in the center of the skillet. Place the chicken over the garlic. Make sure there are no potatoes under the chicken, if so use tongs to arrange them around the chicken; they won’t cook right if they are under the chicken.
7. Roast the chicken and potatoes, turning the potatoes once or twice to coat in juices and the Gochujang mixture that accumulates in the pan until the potatoes are very tender when pressed with the back of a spoon and the chicken skin is deep reddish-golden brown in color, 2 ½-3 hours. When you wiggle the legs of the chicken, they should feel loose in the joints, meaning the meat is fall-apart tender. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10-15 minutes; resting the meat helps make the meat juicier.
8. Use the back of a large spoon or a potato masher to gently mash the potatoes in the skillet, exposing some of their flesh to the juices underneath so they can soak it up.
9. Thinly slice 5 scallions on a long diagonal. Cut 2 limes in half. Cut 1 half into wedges and set aside. Stir 2 tsp honey and the juice of the remaining lime half into the potatoes. Season with salt to taste. Scatter the sliced scallions over the potatoes.
10. Carve the chicken then arrange the pieces over the potatoes and scallions. Serve right out of the skillet with the remaining lime wedges alongside for squeezing.
Note: The chicken can be seasoned 12 hours ahead of time. I always do everything but the baking the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. This seems to enhance the flavors. Enjoy!