I love creating recipes, especially main dishes and desserts, and truly, consuming them feels just as fulfilling as the cooking process. It’s like an eatable gift, a new “package” arrives each time I develop a dish. I “unwrap” it as I gather ingredients and tools and then preparation begins, and voila, soon I’m presented with the first taste. I salivate as the food touches my tongue, palate and all parts of my mouth. Sweet, tangy and salty flavors roar in consensus as I experience wonder unraveling within!
This experience occurred when I cooked this fresh chicken dish. Eating chicken goes back to my childhood, when at home we ate it often. I recall my mother eating boiled chicken, warm. I watched s she placed the chicken on her plate. Mom picked at the meaty parts, trying not to slip and eat too many fatty pieces, so as not to gain weight, a sin for her. Regretfully, I inherited some of her worry about gaining weight. However, my time spent in the kitchen as a passionate, engaged cook and baker, controls any overindulgence,
As I begin working the recipe, I comb, in my mind, what I’ll add in the dish, foods to complement the chicken, what I might change or make adjustments with, how to improve its appearance and naturally to make the eaters taste buds tingle!
Marinades call to me, even though many cooking experts believe that these sauces and mixtures do not penetrate meat or chicken more than one quarter of an inch! Still, I’m a believer, and continue to use marinades, but I poke the meats a bit with a sharp knife to encourage marinades to sink deeply into the interior of the meat, magnifying its flavor.
This particular recipe is enhanced with a silky, dark balsamic richness, which gives it eye-popping appeal, as the sauce smears the chicken. This is followed by a taste which, overall, confirms what our eyes know as fact.
To triumph this and other dishes I include herbs and plant parts, many of which I have grown in my garden. Heartfelt happiness occurs with homegrown foods.
4 plump chicken thighs, about 20 oz. boneless and skinless, cut in halves or thirds
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons mirin or a good quality balsamic vinegar, try a maple balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons sake, or dry white wine, dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
zest from one lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
7 scallions, chopped, divided in half, roughly
1 teaspoon sesame oil, toasted
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon Italian herbs, or a very small handful of dried oregano and thyme
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
2-4 Tablespoons water
1 In a medium bowl combine the garlic, soy sauce, mirin, sake, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, 4 scallions, Hoisin sauce, brown sugar. Stir well. Add the chicken, poke each piece of chicken several times with a sharp knife to help the marinade penetrate the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap, turn the chicken two or three times. Refrigerate 1 hour or up to 2-3 hours.
2 Heat half the olive oil in a large fry pan on medium heat. Save the sauce, add the chicken and sear it on one side, keeping the chicken tight to one spot for several minutes before turning it. Each side may take 6-10 minutes to get a good browning. The chicken will be partially cooked through.
3 Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving any accumulating juices in the pan and add the other 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or maybe just 2. Add the three remaining scallions. Stir on low-medium heat for several minutes. Add half of the water, stir 1-2 minutes, add the chicken and the rest of the sauce. Add the sesame oil. Cook on low for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, adding additional water if needed to make a good consistency sauce, between thick and thin, finding a balance to your liking. Add the Italian herbs.
4 Adjust for additional seasoning. Serve over a bed of cooked rice, surrounded by a circle of well placed cooked spinach. For an excellent accent, top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.