When I was growing up, roast chicken was a Sunday night staple. Add a side of mashed potatoes and a roast carrot or two and you could call it a party. These days, I still find myself roasting a bird on the occasional Sunday, but the ol’ salt and pepper with a side of potatoes just doesn’t thrill me anymore. To be honest, I don’t think it thrilled me then, I sort of think that’s what I liked about it. And while the classic will always be a classic, I can’t help but mess with that all too familiar chicken dinner. This Gochujang Glazed Chicken is the latest installment in my poultry-related experiments.
I have a brain that won’t quit. For the most part, I am grateful for it as it does regulate my breathing and other essential bodily functions. But my brain is also super annoying. “Restless” is the best way to describe it. It’s never happy with the same ol’ and I find my favorite things tend to lose their luster at a break-neck pace. So, the fact I stuck it out with the same chicken recipe for a good chunk of my adult life is a downright miracle.
Call it a testament to just how good dry brined chicken roasted at a high temperature can be. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than salt, pepper, and chicken when salt, pepper, and chicken taste that good. Well, if you’re me, it does have to be more complicated than that. It has to be different, it has to be fresh, but it also needs a good dose of nostalgia. Yeah, my brain is very understanding and never asks me for anything difficult.
In some ways, this Gochujang Glazed Chicken represents the collision of two very different lives. My childhood, where familiarity was worn like armor and my “adulthood”. When I moved to Toronto, at the tender age of 20, I knew nothing about Korean food, so when I ate my first piece of kimchi, I quite literally blew my top. At that moment, my culinary education was kicked into high gear. I always say, when I left Halifax, I had an interest in food. When I moved to Toronto, I fell in love with food. So, while the chicken represents nostalgia, the gochujang glaze speaks of discovery. But maybe this metaphor is too heavy for a lil chicken to carry.
Maybe this Gochujang Glazed Chicken isn’t so different from the chicken I grew up with. It still makes use of the dry brine method, although the pepper has been replaced with gochugaru. And the chicken still roasts at the same temperature for the same amount of time. Really the only added step is the small bit of whisking required to make the glaze. And the glaze is well worth the wrist exertion. It brings heat, sweet and a whole lot of funk to the classic chicken dinner.
It always struck me as funny that a roast chicken qualified as a special meal. Roasting a chicken does seem special because it tastes so good and can feed four adults handily. But in terms of work, well, it takes little to no effort. To me, it falls under the “Set It and Forget It” category. You rub the chicken with salt, you let it hang out, you preheat the oven and pop it in. If you’re making this Gochujang Glazed Chicken, you have the added step of brushing on the glaze, but really, is that such a hardship?
Honestly, if you lack confidence as a cook but want to have friends by, this Gochujang Glazed Chicken is perfect for you. And if you want to expand your guest list, this recipe can be easily scaled up. Most ovens can happily accommodate two chickens and a tray of roast veg with no adverse effects.
There isn’t much more to say about this Gochujang Glazed Chicken other than it’s delicious and completely accessible no matter your experience level. Oh, and it’s delightfully funky and has just the right amount of spice and the perfect amount of sweet too. In all honestly, it’s hard to find fault with this chicken at all. And if you’re into the chicken but miss the mashed potatoes, I see you and I understand you. I for one think cheesy mashed potatoes would make as much sense alongside this chicken as the jasmine rice pictured does.
So what do you say? Are you ready to win at Sunday? Give this Gochujang Glazed Chicken a whirl.
Gochujang Glazed Chicken with Roast Savoy Cabbage
Gochujang Glazed Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp gochugaru
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 1 (1 ½-inch) knob ginger root sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling
Roast Savoy Cabbage with Carrots & Zucchini
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- ½ head savoy cabbage cut into wedges
- 2 large carrots peeled and cut into batons
- 1 zucchini cut into batons
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp gochugaru
Gochujang Glazed Chicken
- Trim the chicken of any excess fat and pat dry inside and out with a paper towel. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the salt and gochugaru. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and inside the cavity.
- Place the chicken on a cooling rack inside a baking sheet and transfer to the fridge. Chill the chicken uncovered for at least 8 hours and for no more than 24.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a large cast-iron skillet with a little olive oil and place the chicken in the center. Stuff the cavity with the lime and ginger and place it in the oven. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes before rotating the pan. Roast for another 20 minutes.
- After you rotate the pan, make the glaze. Place the garlic, gochujang, honey, water and sesame oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- When the 20 minutes has passed, take the chicken out of the oven and brush it all over with the glaze. Return the chicken to the oven and roast until the chicken looks burnished, about 5-10 minutes more.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Sprinkle the chicken all over with sesame seeds before carving.
For the Roast Savoy Cabbage
- Once the chicken is in the oven for its second roast, it's time to prep the veg. Pour 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into the center of a large baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the oil all over in an even layer.
- Arrange the veg on the baking sheet, ensuring the veg is evenly spaced. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and gochugaru.
- When it's time to return the freshly glazed chicken to the oven, pop the veg in the oven and let roast for 10 minutes, before rotating the pan. Roast for an additional 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.
- Serve the chicken with the roasted veg and a side of plain steamed Jasmine rice.