I’m attracted to chicken recipes. I grew up eating chicken, watched my mother, at lunch, pick juicy pieces of chicken off the bone of boiled chicken. For years I ate at KFC, but lately, I know I cook way better. Dishes made with chicken are tasty and they present a multitude of possibilities for the home cook. Chicken can be eaten alone or with companion foods, skin on, off, same goes for bone or boneless. And the price is right too! Purchased either whole or cut in parts, chicken is an economical buy. Since I’m a cookbook collector, with only 125 cookbooks (I’ve heard others with 1,000 cookbooks!) to date. I have one book devoted to just chicken. But too, that doesn’t include the hundreds, if not thousands of recipes in other books which have a lot or a little bit of chicken in them. Plus you can extensively adjust the taste of chicken with a huge assortment of herbs, spices, vegetables, just to name a few ideas. And, how about when you search the internet!
This particular chicken recipe I found in a twenty-five year old Chinese cookbook which I picked up for free. I saw it at my little library stand down the street, where I was suppose to be friendly and drop off a book that I didn’t need. (I’m still waiting to do that part of the exchange!) Naturally I have created a fresh dish by tweaking the ingredients to my liking.
INGREDIENTS Serves 4-6
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dry sherry, rice wine, rice vinegar or red wine
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 lb boneless-skinless chicken breast or chicken thigh cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp dry sherry, rice wine, rice vinegar or red wine
1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Chinese fermented black bean or black bean garlic sauce
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled, divided, 2 cut in thirds, two cloves minced
4 medium shallots, peeled, cut vertically in thirds, cut again in halves
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 3 tsp water
1 In a medium-size bowl, mix the marinade, add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.
2 In a medium size bowl, mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
3 In a 1 -2 quart size pot, add the oil and turn it to medium-high. After it has heated up to shimmer, add the shallots, breaking any up into smaller pieces if too large. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes as they fiercely boil away. The last two minutes add the 2 cut up garlic cloves. Then remove the golden shallots and the two garlic cloves to a paper towel to drain. Remove the hot pot of oil off the burner.
4 In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of the oil that you just used. Heat the oil to medium high as you swirl it over the sides of the pan. Add the chicken and cook 5-10 minutes while the chicken looses its pink color. For the last two minutes, add the two remaining minced garlic cloves, stirring occasionally. Add the shallots but not the other two pieces of cut garlic cloves.
5 Add the mixture of the cornstarch and the water. Stir until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens, about one to two more minutes, adding more chicken stock if a thinner sauce is desired. Adjust for seasoning, transfer to a serving platter with extra sauce served on the side and for appearance, top with a sprinkling of white sesame seeds.
TIPS AND TWEAKS
- This dish is tasty served over buttered noodles, rice, grits or mashed potatoes.
- A chilled salad works as a side dish.
- The last few minutes when cooking the chicken, add and saute eight ounces of cut mushrooms of your choice.
- to heighten the Chinese appearance and flavor, add 1 drained can of cut water chestnuts at step 4 or five.
- At step 4 add 1 teaspoon of Maggie Seasoning Sauce to improve the flavor of the sauce
- For the vegetable side dish: mix 1 small peeled, butternut squash, seeds removed, cut in 1-2 inch square, with 1 medium size sweet potato peeled, cut in 1-2 inch squares. Put these in a large bowl add one large shallot, peeled, cut in thirds and separated. Add a scant one quarter cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, a generous amount of salt, about 2 teaspoons, one teaspoon pepper, plus one teaspoon honey. Add too one teaspoon Maggie Seasoning Salt. Stir everything together well. Place on a lightly greased cookie dish and cook in a 400 degree preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until tender, turning the vegetables a few times and letting the shallots caramelize some. Adjust the seasoning and serve warm alongside the chicken and shallots.
- The vegetables as a main dish can be cooked alone for an all vegetarian meal, just easily double the ingredients, or use more of either of the ingredients, depending on your preferences.