With her first cookbook on shelves now and her own Food Network show debuting on Saturday, Ayesha Curry has solidified her status as a force in the culinary world — but she hasn’t forgotten her roots.
In the video above, Curry shares a recipe that reminds her of her childhood: her mother’s brown sugar chicken. “The smell would just penetrate through the entire house,” she recalls. “My mom had a hair salon in the basement and her clients could smell it, so she would have to make it for the masses.”
Braising the chicken in a savory-sweet sauce packs it with flavor, and cooking it with the lid traps the moisture in, leaving you with a tender, falling-off-the-bone bird.
Get the full recipe below from Curry’s first cookbook, The Seasoned Life, and be sure to check out Ayesha’s Homemade on Saturday at 12 pm ET on Food Network.
Ayesha Curry’s Brown Sugar Chicken Recipe
4 whole chicken legs, drumsticks and thighs attached (about 3 ½ lbs.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. minced shallot
3 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup chicken broth
1 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
2 packed cups of dark brown sugar
1 heaping tbsp. of minced fresh ginger
4 cups of steamed jasmine rice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
2. In a 5 ½-quart or larger Dutch oven or a heavy oven-safe saucepan, melt the butter with olive oil over medium-high heat.
3. Working in two batches, brown the chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate.
4. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of fat and return the Dutch oven to medium heat. Sauté the shallot until translucent, about 1 minute, adding the garlic halfway through cooking.
5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, dislodging any caramelized bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven to maximize flavor.
6. Stir in the soy sauce brown sugar and ginger. Simmer to dissolve the sugar and thicken the sauce slightly, 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Put the chicken back into the Dutch oven, skin-side up, and cover with the lid. Bake for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the lid and bake until the chicken is nearly falling off the bone, about 30 minutes more (test a piece by piercing with a fork to see if the meat pulls away easily.)
9. To serve, put a chicken leg on each plate. Spoon some rice next to the chicken and drizzle some of the sauce over both.
Note: If you’re looking for a vegetable to pair with it beyond the usual suspects, here’s what my mom does: She cuts an acorn squash in half, scoops out the seeds (but leaves the skin on), and then slices it into planks. She sprinkles the squash planks with cinnamon, salt, and black pepper and then roasts it in the oven alongside the chicken.