Friday, April 9, 2010
Steamed Chicken with Ginger Scallion Dipping Sauce
This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s easy, delicious, and can feed two adults for 4-6 business days. Also, part of the reason this is a favorite recipe is because I get to use a mezzaluna (pictured below), one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Growing up, my mama made me mince the old-fashioned way: constantly chopping with a heavy cleaver for 20-30 minutes. With one of these half-mooned miracles, I can get the same results in about 5 minutes. So using the mezzaluna is my way of letting my mama know she made me suffer for nothing. I still love her, though.
1 whole chicken (for less fat, see note below)
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp salt
3-inch section of ginger (about the size of both thumbs put together)
1 stalk of green onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp canola oil
1. In a steamer the size of the International Space Station, bring a gallon of water to a boil.
2. Clean the chicken and remove the neck and innards from the cavity. Set these tasty morsels aside for use in another recipe or discard. Rub the ground pepper and salt into the inner cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in 12x12 glass baking dish. Cooking will result in large amount of chicken stock. To avoid a chicken that’s half submerged in stock, I place the rack from my toaster oven over the baking dish. This keeps the chicken suspended above the pool of deliciousness that will soon form.
3. Once the steamer is ready, carefully place the chicken into the steamer. Steam for 2 hours. Periodically check the water level and add water as needed.
4. Meanwhile, peel and chop the ginger and garlic. Similarly chop the scallions. Combine ginger, garlic, and scallions onto a cutting board. Using a mezzaluna, mince these ingredients until fine and evenly blended. Transfer to a small bowl. Add salt and canola oil and mix until even.
5. When the chicken has steamed for 2 hours, remove from heat, remove lid, and let rest for 15 minutes before moving or cutting. This will set the extremely hot and tender meat; otherwise the bird will fall apart in your hands. Once cooled, remove the legs and wings. Chop the remainder into 1-inch pieces. Serve with rice (see below) and your favorite veggies.
With the clear, flavorful chicken stock you’ve now collected in the glass dish, you’re on your way to a myriad of other amazing recipes, including rice for the chicken. My favorite thing to eat with this steamed chicken is rice cooked in fresh chicken stock. Use this to cook 2 cups of jasmine rice and you’re well on your way to spiritual bliss.
Though I've called it "dipping sauce," I usually just mix a spoonful of the ginger-scallion goodness into the rice rice itself. This method also helps me save on soy sauce expenses.
FOR LESS FAT: Before placing the chicken in the steamer, pierce the chicken’s skin multiple times with a sharp knife or fork (12 to 20 times), especially the skin around the fatty areas, e.g., thighs. Be careful to not pierce the actual meat. These pierces will help the fat drip out into the baking dish. Before using the stock you’ve just collected, first pour it through a strainer into another container to remove impurities. Then, refrigerate for 3 hours or until the floating layer of fat solidifies. Carefully remove the layer of hardened lard and now you have yourself about a quart of 99% fat-free chicken stock.