One of the more approachable recipes from Eating In is Peanut Chicken Thighs – a simple recipe built mostly from pantry staples that can be on the table in around 45 minutes. The original recipe calls for the full chicken leg – drumstick with thigh attached – but this is a hard cut to find in my little corner of paradise. I’ve opted instead for bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, which are both easier to come by and easier to eat.
The mechanics of the recipe are straightforward: chicken thighs are lightly seasoned and browned in oil. Wine, soy sauce, and the Asian mirepoix of ginger and garlic are added to the pan juices and the chicken is simmered for around 30 minutes. Remove the chicken, stir some crunchy peanut butter into the pan juices, and drizzle over top. This is a perfect job for cast iron – you can sear, simmer, and serve in the same skillet.
Now for my money a peanut-sauced chicken dish deserves a side of rice noodles and a green vegetable, with hoisin sauce and sriracha on the side. That’s exactly how I served it to my family and it was fantastic, but the sauce is more versatile than the ingredient list lets on. No need to pigeonhole it as an Asian dish – Peanut Chicken Thighs also pair well with a standard American rice pilaf and asparagus or string beans. The author recommends serving the chicken chilled with a cold Jerusalem artichoke salad.
Eating In is a delightful read but difficult to come by. It is occasionally available used on Amazon, as is Betty Fussell’s more popular cookbook I Hear America Cooking.
- 8 chicken thighs
- neutral oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 inch gingerroot thumb (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 tsp garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)
- crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp salted peanuts (finely chopped)
- Trim extra fat from chicken thighs. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken thighs for 2-3 minutes per side, Remove from skillet and reduce heat.
- Add garlic and ginger to pan juices and swirl a couple of times, then stir in vinegar, soy sauce, and white wine.
- Return chicken to the pan, spoon the sauce over top of the chicken, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes until chicken thighs are cooked through (165º F internal temperature).
- Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Whisk peanut butter into the pan juices. We're not making the thick and sticky Thai-style peanut sauce - this sauce should be opaque and runny. Thin with additional wine if needed.
- Serve chicken as desired and drizzle the peanut sauce over top. The sauce is very salty so go easy. Garnish with chopped peanuts and additional red pepper flakes.