As I announced on my Instagram, this Peachy Walnut Chicken recipe is bought to you by my newest collaboration with the very first issue of PEARL Magazine, a yet-to-be-released new bi-annual publication focusing on Asian girl arts, culture and stories that my colleague and illustrator friend Vivian Loh co-founded.
Ripe summer peaches call for the making of not only peach tea and peach pie, but also savory peach dishes, because well… why not? Slightly under-ripe peaches hold their shape beautifully in a cooked dish, and it especially shows in this one because it gets cooked for quite sometime in the simmering process. In the end it helps produce a wonderfully caramelized sauce as well as soft and tendersweet (just made this term up) warm fruit to accompany a big golden chicken thigh. So without further ado—
- 2 large chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or grass-fed butter/ghee
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 1″ inch worth ginger, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 white peaches (fairly firm to the touch, should not be soft)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/4 cup apple juice (I used pineapple leftover from this recipe, it’s also fine to just use water here)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- fresh mint leaves (optional)
- lemon zest (optional)
1. Begin by marinating your chicken thighs. Rub on all sides with apple cider vinegar, sea salt, pepper and fish sauce. Depending on how thick your chicken thigh is, cut slits on the bottom of the thigh (so the side that doesn’t have the skin since we wanna keep that part nice and pretty). Cut these slits as deep as possible without cutting through to the other side. Let marinade for at least an hour, kept chilled in the fridge.
2. Gather the rest of your ingredients.
3. After your chicken has had time to get acquainted with its marinade, blot it dry on both sides
4. Place 1 tablespoon of oil on the bottom of a pan.
5. Dial the heat up to medium high and when the oil is hot, gently place your chicken in, bottom side first, and cook for at least 5 minutes, depending on its overall thickness. Flip over and brown the other side.
6. When the top is nice and golden brown, flip it over again (back on its bottom) and cover the whole pan for at least 10 minutes. (my chicken thigh was fairly thick, so it needed all the time to really cook through to the bone.) Repeat these steps with the other chicken thigh (I filter out my oil before re-using so tiny bits do not remain to burn and stick to the next chicken thigh)
7. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
8. In the same pan with the chicken drippings, first add in your onions, garlic and ginger and let it all brown under high heat, stirring often.
9. Put in the rest of your sauce ingredients all at once. Let come to a simmer and turn down the heat to a low-medium and let it bubble for about 5 minutes. The peaches should start to soften under the heat.
10. Taste the sauce, season to your liking, and continue on for another minute. When the sauce is fairly thick and brown, turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove to keep warm.
9. In a small dry pan, toast your walnuts. Keep a close eye on your walnuts while the heat is on, and toss often. Brown marks should start appearing all over the surface of your walnuts.
10. As the walnuts become more brittle through the toasting process, I use this weird stainless steel ladle tool I have to wack the walnuts into smaller pieces. You could also use a regular ladle. Let toast for just a little bit more then take off the heat and allow to cool.
There are two ways to serve this dish, either all the peaches and sauce over the chicken thighs and sprinkled with the toasted walnuts and fresh mint leaves as shown above…
…or strain the sauce to put on the chicken while serving the peaches on the side. Either way is delicious!