The subject of today’s post was inspired by Sam Sifton’s weekly New York Times “Cooking” newsletter for January 22, which proposed a “no recipe recipe” for roasted miso chicken with butternut squash and red onions. Indeed, ever since Sifton introduced these free-style recipes last year, I’ve been a fan and was more than pleased last night with the results from his latest.
I must admit, however, that this is the first time I’ve used miso paste, and it was one of those rare occasions that I’ve incorporated other ingredients like soy sauce, rice-wine vinegar, and Sriracha, since Asian cuisine is outside of my wheel house. After last night, though, I believe these condiments and their wonderful flavors will find their way back into my culinary adventures.
The miso paste gave the chicken sweet, smoky flavors with nutty notes while the Sriracha added subtle hints of spice and the vinegar a touch of brightness. All these flavors were nicely complemented by the roasted vegetables which acquired even more and deeper flavors from the chicken. The skin was crisp and the meat tender and moist.
Although Sifton suggested using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, I opted for leg quarters, which I already had on hand. Otherwise, I pretty much followed the recipe, using my own judgement and past experience to come up with measurements and cooking times.
Roasted Miso Chicken with Butternut Squash and Red Onions (adapted from the New York Times “Cooking” newsletter of 22 January 2020)
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters or 4 thighs
2 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter
2 tablespoons yusu miso paste
1 teaspoon rice-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha
24 ounces butternut squash, cut into large cubes
1 large red onion, sliced thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. In a small bowl, combine miso paste, butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and Sriracha to form a compound butter.
3. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper, keeping in mind the soy sauce in the butter. Massage butter-mixture all over the chicken legs.
4. Place squash and onions on a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss. (Next time, I’ll probably add a touch of nutmeg to the vegetables.)
5. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
6. Roast in oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden, dark in spots, and until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables soft.
7. Serve on warmed plates.
Wine Pairing: Cotes du Rhones, Grenache