Monday, March 8, 2010

Chinese Ginger Chicken

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Last night I made Chinese Ginger Chicken for Dave. I wish he was here to enjoy it. He sent me an article that had many cooks making it up in their own style. So I took what I call Chinese Steamed Chicken (a recipe that I got from my mother-in-law) which is my husband’s favorite and he likes it simply served with oyster sauce on the side for dipping and turned it into ginger chicken. It was wonderful.

I liked the suggestion from the article, to gently simmer the ginger, garlic & green onions in oil to soften the pungent flavors of the ingredients and flavor the oil at the same time. I also realized that the leftover sauce would be wonderful for a quick stir fry because it has all the right ingredients to make a flavorful dish.

When I make steamed chicken I always save the broth and freeze it in quarts for a quick soup starter for any type of light Chinese soup or thicken it up with cornstarch for a simple Chinese gravy.

Traditionally the chicken is cut up with a large cleaver right through the bones. I don’t like the mess that it makes so I debone as much of the chicken as I can before cutting and serving. I cut the chicken in half down the back first, then I press open the cavity to flatten it out so I have access to the underside of the breast bone and cut through the middle to have two halves. I remove the back, leg, thigh and wings. Then I slide my fingers under the bone in the breast to separate the meat. This allows me to have a beautiful half breast that is easy to slice.

CHINESE GINGER CHICKEN aka STEAMED CHICKEN
3 ½ - 5 pound whole chicken
1 ½ Tblsp. Kosher salt

2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
3 – 4 quarts water, or enough to fully cover the chicken

Ice Bath

Remove the giblets and rinse the chicken in cold tap water. Dry it with paper towels and place it in a bowl. Salt the chicken inside and out with 1 ½ Tblsp. kosher salt. Flip it to the breast side down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Place the ginger and salted chicken (don’t rinse) breast side up in a pot large enough so it can be covered completely with the water. Fill the pot with cold tap water to cover the chicken by at least an inch. Bring it to a boil, skim off the foam, lower the heat to as low as your stove can go and cover the pot.

Cook the chicken for 40 – 45 minutes depending on the size. After 40 minutes, poke the thickest part of the thigh with a knife and if it bleeds cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Aproximate cooking time;
3# - 40 - 50 minutes
4# - 50 min. to an hour
5# - an hour to an hour 15 min.

Make an ice bath (ice cubes and water) in a bowl or pot large enough to hold the chicken and place it in your sink. Bring your pot with the chicken over to the sink and place a wooden spoon into the cavity and gently lift the chicken out of the broth, draining out the broth from the cavity at the same time and place it in the ice bath breast side down to stop the cooking. When the ice is almost melted remove the chicken and dry with paper towels. Cut it into bite size pieces and serve with the ginger sauce on the side so everyone can add what they want.

GINGER SAUCE

2 inch fresh ginger, minced fine
2 large cloves of garlic, minced fine
5 sprigs green onion, minced fine
oil to cover ingredients (about ¼ cup)
½ tsp. Kosher salt

Place about 2 Tblsp. oil in a small pan. Add the ginger and garlic and heat on med until it starts to get fragrant (do not brown). Add more oil so mixture is covered. Then toss in the green onions and transfer to a bowl and stir in the salt. This can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

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