The snowpocalypse hit us hard this week, but right before the streets became impassable we ventured out for provisions. The first stop was the liquor store, then the Asian market, and, finally, our local grocery store.

The plan was to make Andong Jjimdak, a comforting Korean chicken stew with a broth that balances spicy, salty, and sweet in all the right ways. For this recipe, we needed soju, a Korean liquor that’s ubiquitous in Seoul, and tastes like a close relative of both vodka and sake. It’s not necessarily our favorite thing to drink, but it helps create the perfect base for a Korean stew, and while the bottle’s open…

You only need ¼ cup of soju for this recipe, so pull out some shot glasses and take shots while you cook and eat this spicy stew (if you know what’s good for you, you’ll chase them with beer).

In addition to being a super-impressive, comforting dish to make when you’re snowed in, Andong Jimdak gives you a damn good reason to visit your local Asian market. Have fun exploring and grab some glass noodles, some gochujang (spicy Korean red pepper paste), little dried jujubes (they look like dates), and a bottle of soju. If you live in a state that makes you buy booze and food at separate stores — our nearest Asian market is across the state line in Kansas — a good liquor store should have some. While you’re at it, grab some other Asian treats, especially if you’re going to be snowed in for a few days.

Andong Jimdak

For the broth:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup soju
1 tablespoon gochujang
6 jujubes (not the candy!)
3 chiles de arbol
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoon fish sauce
8 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 teaspoons of grated ginger
1 cup chicken stock
1½ cup water

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces and sprinkled with salt and pepper
2 carrots, thick sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and thick sliced
1 large white or yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces button mushrooms
6 ounces glass noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
1 bunch scallions, sliced

Warm a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil. Add the chicken to brown in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each piece for 6 to 8 minutes, rotating frequently. When the final batch has been browned, add all of the broth ingredients to the dutch oven, along with the remaining browned chicken, and bring to a boil. Stir gently, cover, and allow the mixture it to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and onion and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add the glass noodles and scallions and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve (and enjoy!) immediately.

Geonbae! (That’s Korean for “Cheers!”)