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Author Notes: I got the idea for this dish from a fantastic Thai restaurant in Hercules, California. It's just off Highway 80 and a must-stop if traveling from the Bay Area to Sacramento. They have a Panang curry beef (Panang Nuer) on their menu that the waiter described as “homestyle,” that is, slow-cooked. The beef is fall-apart tender, and the dish is topped with a crunchy chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves. To have it once means to crave it forever. I filed the slow-cooked curry idea away for a rainy day. On just such a day, I came up with this recipe. I love to revisit this dish when it's cold-—slow-cooked foods are so comforting when it isn't nice out.
I've posted the Thai Gremolata component as a standalone recipe to Food52 previously, but I suspect it lacked context. This braised curry is the dish for which I developed it, so I'm including the recipe again, as a component of this dish. —indieculinary
For the curry chicken:
- 1/2 cup red Thai curry paste (preferably Maesri brand, if you can find it)
- 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil or any neutral oil
- Two 8-ounc cans coconut milk
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Juice of 1 lime or a chiffonade of 4 kaffir lime leaves (worth it if you can find them!)
- 1 tablespoon brown or palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Preheat an oven to 350º F.
- In a wok or large saucepan, stir-fry the curry paste and peanut oil together until the paste is softened and fragrant.
- Add the coconut milk and whisk to combine.
- Add the peanut butter and whisk to combine as it softens and melts into the sauce.
- Add the lime juice or chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves, the sugar, and the fish sauce, whisking to combine.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes and then remove the sauce from the heat.
- Place the chicken thighs in a Dutch oven and pour the peanut curry over them.
- Place in an oven, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and easily shredded with a fork.
- To serve, divide the chicken evening between 8 plates and serve over rice, noodles, or salad, and garnish with Thai gremolata (recipe follows.)
For the Thai gremolata:
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, minced
- Zest of 2 limes
- 1/2 cup minced cilantro, packed
- In a small saucepan over low heat, briefly dry-sauté the minced shallot, garlic, and peanuts, stirring frequently, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Do not leave unattended, or you will risk developing burnt or bitter flavors.)
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Toss the peanut, shallot, and garlic mixture with the lime zest and minced cilantro to complete the gremolata.