I will drop everything for a meal consisting of finger foods and a good cheese board. I love the variety and the informality of it, passing plates and slicing bread, debating whether the triple crème brie is better with membrillo or fig jam, and picking away at little bites until you just CAN’T eat another morsel!
This is how we spend Christmas Eve in my family. This is not traditional by any means, but it came about due to a combination of a clash of cultures (our Christmas is complicated - the Germans celebrate mainly on the 24th, and the British/Dutch celebrate on the 25th), having small children, and my preference to spend Christmas Eve with my family instead of in the kitchen. We have our big meal on Christmas Day, the 25th, instead.
Speaking of multi-cultural, my Indonesian grandmother’s Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce was legendary. This year we’ll be adding an Asian twist to our table with this cocktail version. It’s much easier than threading the skewers, and the sauce can be made in advance and reheated, giving you plenty of time to do the other 83 things on your to-do list this season! xoxo Kirsty
Ingredients (serves 4 as an appetizer)
To marinate the chicken:
1 pound (450g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup (120ml) ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, available online), or see notes below
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Note: to make ketjap manis, combine 1/2 cup soy sauce and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a soft boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cool before using in recipe.
For the peanut sauce (makes enough for 2 batches):
16oz. jar peanut butter, natural, unsweetened. I prefer chunky peanut butter but smooth is fine too.
1 tablespoon sambal oelek, or sriracha if you don't have it.
2 teaspoons beef stock bouillon concentrate (I like Better than Bouillon available in the US) or 1 beef stock cube
1/2 cup (95g) sugar
juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Cut the chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow dish. Toss the chciken in the marinade and refrigerate for at least two hours, up to overnight.
Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir, do not boil. Taste for seasoning and add more spice (sambal oelek) if needed. Add more water to thin the consistency before serving. It will thicken the longer it cooks. This makes enough for two batches of chicken, but it freezes well.
When the chicken is done marinating, preheat the broiler/grill in your oven to medium-high. Place an oven rack on the highest shelf. Line a broiling pan with foil and spread the chicken out in a single layer. Broil for 4-5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it, it's ok if the tips char a little. Remove the pan from the oven and flip over all the chicken, return to the oven and broil for a further 3-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. This can be done in advance, kept cool and re-heated in the oven at 350F (180C) for 10 minutes.
Serve on a platter with cocktail sticks and peanut sauce on the side.