Thursday, February 1, 2007

Stretching a Chicken, Part II

OK, so now I've got part of a chicken breast, plus the rest of the carcass. (I ate the other leg/thigh with the veggies for lunch.) Don't want to get bored with this bird, after all! So I carved off the rest of the breast meat and cut it into chunks. I had gotten a large bag of dried shitake mushrooms and Costco not too long ago, and I had an onion in the fridge. This was beginning to look like the start of a stir-fry, so I bought a small bok choy to add some green to the dish.

Break the stems off about 2 large handfuls of dried, sliced shitake mushrooms (or more) and discard. If using fresh ones, you will want about 3/4 of a cup of sliced mushrooms. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. (They are grown in manure, after all.) Soak the mushrooms in water while you prepare the rest.

Slice an onion (or 3/4 of one as I had in this case). If you have green onions, all the better. But I didn't, so I used what I had. Cut the base off the bok choy and wash the leaves thoroughly. Working with 2-3 leaves at a time, cut the stems in half or thirds lengthwise, depending upon their size. Then cut across the stems and leaves so that you have strips approximately 1/4" wide. (I'm guessing at this dimension, so don't obsess about it.)

Heat about 2TBS of oil in a pan. If you have a large wok, great! If not, you can use any large, heavy pan. The principle to remember here is "hot wok, cold oil". You don't want the oil breaking down from the heat before you get your food in the pan. So heat the pan first on medium- high, then add the oil. You will want your first ingredient coated with the oil by the time it heats up.

I used a combination of oils. I had some sesame oil, and I love the flavor of it. I don't agree with those who insist that you should only use a few drops of it to enhance the flavor of whatever other oil you use. I've never had anyone who complained that the sesame flavor overpowered the dish, and I used easily a tablespoon in this dish. Then I added a splash of hot pepper oil. (I told you I love chili!!) If you have peanut oil, that's always great in stir-fry dishes. If not, use what you have. The rest of the ingredients will add lots of good flavor.

To this oil mixture, add 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped, and about a half a tablespoon of ginger, grated or chopped. I prefer chopping it, but when I don't have time, I'll use the grated stuff in the jar. Then add the onions and stir. When the onions are almost caramel in color, add the bok choy and stir. At this point you can turn the heat down to medium. Add a splash of soy sauce and about a tablespoon of hoisin sauce. (You can buy this at most Asian markets). Keep stirring. When the bok choy leaves begin to wilt, add the mushrooms, along with the water you've soaked them in. Stir some more and add the chicken pieces. Reduce the heat and cover the pan. The dish should be ready to serve in about 5 minutes, when the chicken has heated through.

I served this dish with jasmine rice. There was enough of it for 4-5 people.

Tomorrow, I will finish with Part III.

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Chris said...

Yum, Yum, Yum! I had a wok...and come to think of it...I haven't seen it since I moved...time to locate it. And...Jasmine Rice? Had it for the first time last night. De-lish!

Toni said...

If you can't locate it, any large, heavy pan will do. I use a large, cast iron deep skillet. I think by the time I got done with this chicken, it had served 10 meals. Maybe 12. Gotta love that!