Michelle threatened my life tonight until I posted this recipe for you. Truth be told, it is the EASIEST chicken dish I have ever made. (Because I really don’t have a recipe at all. I just made this up on the spot. Please feel free to edit as you see fit.)
1 whole chicken
1 medium ginger (peeled, minced)
1 bunch scallions (green onions, minced)
1/2 C. olive oil
2 teaspoon sea salt
Trader Joe’s Basmati Rice Medley
Steamed greens (bok choy, cabbage, etc.)
The most time-consuming part of this is skinning the chicken. I’ve heard that real chefs can skin a chicken in less than 5 minutes. I’m getting better, but it still takes me around fifteen. I also de-fat the chicken as I go along. You could buy chicken that’s already cut up and skinned, but I think that’s missing half the fun. Besides, the puppies love crispy chicken skin — I fry that on the side, pour all the fat off, and make a gravy for them. You can leave the skin on if you want; it would definitely add extra flavor to the chicken. Michelle doesn’t like the skin, though, so the puppies benefit. 🙂
Anyway, what you’ll want to do is to cut up the chicken into main parts: thighs, leg, breasts, wings, drums, etc. You’ll be left with the chicken “carcass” — the boney part, which is most excellent for stock. I use a cleaver and cut the boney carcass up into smaller chunks and put that in a bottom of a big stockpot. Then, layer the rest of the bone-in chicken (legs, thighs, drums, wings, whatever has bones in it). Add just enough water to cover this. (You’ll add the breast later). Put the pot on to boil rigorously for about 10 minutes or so, and then cover and simmer for about 40 minutes.
(Alternatively, you can steam the chicken. Traditional Asian recipes call for bamboo baskets over boiling water — it’s probably just as good, if not better, but I really want to make the best use of all the chicken parts, including the stock.)
Meanwhile, slice the breast sideways so that it’s half thin. Chicken breasts are tricky because they dry out so quickly. The trick, I have found, is to cook them last — for no more than 4 or 5 minutes, until they are JUST done. More than that, they become chewy. So, what I’ve done is to hold out until the last 5 minutes or so, and add them in last. If you slice them half thin, they cook more evenly and seem to retain juices much better.
The ginger-scallion sauce is super easy to make; the trick is to cook the sauce over low heat for a long period of time to infuse the flavor. (Also, I’m not sure of the quantities, so please feel free to adjust). Warm the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the minced ginger and heat for about 20 minutes or so — you’ll want the ginger to just barely bubble. Add the minced scallions and heat for an additional 10 minutes or so. Add the sea salt to taste. The ginger-scallion sauce, to me, totally makes this dish. I don’t know what it is about this very simple flavor, but add it to steamed chicken and it just makes the whole thing “pop”.
Greens: I use whatever is on hand. By the time I finish with the chicken, there’s a bit of stock left over. So I just cut up some greens and cook it in the chicken stock for added flavor. I like the leafier types of greens for this dish, like bok choy or chinese broccoli. Traditional Chinese steamed chicken is usually served with a boiled cabbage wedge over white rice. And lots of soy sauce.
Oh, speaking of rice. I picked up a bag of Trader Joe’s Basmati Rice Medley and wanted to try it out. It is a combination of Indian basmati rice, wild rice, garden herbs and dried vegetables (dehydrated carrots, onions, celery, red bell pepper, mushrooms, parsley, garlic, lemon peel). I love this smell. For whatever reason, it reminds me of childhood and good times. You can create your own rice medley, of course, or use just plain white/brown rice.
Normally when I post recipes, I try to include some pictures. Unfortunately, we’re fresh out of steamed chicken, so you’ll just have to take my word that it’s a really yummy dish. Let me know how it turns out if you decide to make this.