In which I make some more chicken…

Ahoy mateys!

I have been BUSY! I have been cooking, but also doing other things, like throwing a baby shower, hanging out at the beach, playing golf for the first time…busy. I have lots of things to tell you about: two weeknight chickens, banana bread, softshell crab two ways, pesto, Congo Bars/7 layer bars/Hello Mollys, fish tacos, brownies, leek and lobster bread pudding…SO MANY THINGS! Today though, I am going to talk about weeknight chicken again, because I have a good one for you.

three teacup chicken

I have actually made three teacup chicken once before, but it was a bit different. The first time I did it I used chicken breast pieces. I liked it this way better. First of all, dark meat chicken, second of all, less prep, third of all, I just liked it better, k?

The name comes from the measurements in the sauce. Apparently a small Chinese teacup is approximately a quarter of a cup, and the three major ingredients in the sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar are each one of the three teacups. This recipe uses chicken legs, but the cooking was pretty much the same for both, which was interesting, because it meant cooking whole chicken legs in the wok, which I had not done before (never fear, if you are wok-less, this one could totally be done in a high sided saute pan just as well.)

This is super easy.

In the wok.

Brown the chicken over medium high heat, add ginger and garlic, and then the sauce ingredients, cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, then remove the chicken and reduce the sauce for a minute or two then serve. Delicious! I served it over rice and it was mighty tasty. And super quick.

mmmmm mmmm...

Some thoughts:

1. Fellas, listen up, this one’s for you. Some life lessons, totally free, courtesy of me.

  • If a lady hasn’t asked you for a picture of your genitalia…don’t send it to her via Twitter. Or actually, at all, don’t send it at all, via any medium. (I may not know all ladies, but I can pretty much guarantee if she didn’t ask for it, she doesn’t want to see it. Also? Some vocab for you: harassment. Look it up.)
  • If a lady does ask you for a picture, and you’ve never actually met her…don’t send it (and maybe reconsider your social media relationships…she sounds like no good.)
  • If a lady does ask you for a picture, and you have met her, but you are married and she IS NOT YOUR WIFE…don’t send it. Seriously. I can’t believe we still have to have this conversation.
  • If a lady asks you for a picture, and you’ve met her, and she is currently your wife, but you are, hope to be, thought about being, or have a loved one who is or hopes to be in a public office, maybe still?…DON’T SEND IT OVER TWITTER/FACEBOOK/THE INTERWEBS. Seriously. It is a TERRIBLE IDEA. Also, potentially super creepy. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. I hope we all learned something today. You are welcome.

2. Listening tip of the week. Adele. She’s not new if you’ve been paying attention, but she’s just awesome all the time. 

3. I almost had to play the Slap a Stranger game recently when a weirdo got in the revolving door compartment with me. Seriously, just jumped right in. Lucky for his well being I was too shocked to hand out anything but a death stare. 

4. I am curious about kimchi. Everyone talks about how awesome it is, but the description of it usually includes the word “funky.” Am I crazy for thinking that doesn’t sound super delicious? Luckily, I happen to know a Korean food expert, and I am hoping he can enlighten me. 

5. I’ve discovered food trucks and I’m in love…if you are in Boston, find yourself a clover truck and try the chick pea fritter sandwich. It is definitely the most popular sandwich from a very popular truck for a reason. 

6. I played golf for the first time this weekend. I was not good. But I had very patient teachers who tried their best not to laugh at me, which I appreciated. And I kind of liked it! New hobby!

7. So I have a book recommendation for you. (Things is getting crazy up in here!) The NeverEnding Story. NOT the movie. The movie, as it turns out, sucks a lot by comparison. Read the book. And then watch the movie again. Because the special effects are HI-lariously bad.

8. It’s SUMMER! Finally! I can’t even tell you how excited I am. I have had two epic good weather weekends in a row. It is fantastic. I missed it so.

Three Teacup Chicken (serves 4)

Adapted from Serious Eats and Simply Recipes

3 whole star anise

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup sugar

2 tbls Shaoxing rice wine

½ tsp vegetable oil

4 chicken legs, skin on (or, if you’d rather, use 1½ – 2 lbs breast or thigh meat, cut into bite size pieces*)

4 garlic cloves, smashed

One 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 6 or 8 pieces.

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and ground (I did not have these, apparently to my complete detriment. I threw in some red pepper flakes for heat, and it still tasted delicious, though I guess I’m missing out. Next time.)

½ cup chicken stock

Whisk together star anise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and rice wine (and red pepper flakes if you are using) in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Place a large wok over high heat. (Recipe note: I used my wok to do two legs and it was great, but it’s not huge, so four may have been too crowded. A sauté pan would also work just fine (and maybe better if you are making four legs at a time, just make sure you use a high-sided one that is not too big, so the sauce doesn’t evaporate too quickly.) When it starts to smoke, pour in oil. Swirl oil around, and then add chicken legs skin side down. Adjust heat to medium-high and cook without moving or touching until they are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken legs, and add garlic and ginger. Continue cooking until the other side is browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add Sichuan peppercorns if you are using, soy sauce mixture, and chicken stock. Toss chicken pieces with sauce. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until juices run clear, about 12 minutes. Remove legs and set aside on a plate.

Turn heat to medium-high, and reduce sauce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, stirring often. Serve chicken legs with sauce with rice or a vegetable.

*If you are using pieces in a wok you may want to add the in two batches so you don’t crowd the wok and lower the temperature significantly, add the first batch, toss for a minute or two, then remove and add the second and toss for a minute or two before adding the first batch back in and adding the sauce. Additionally they may only take about 5-6 minutes TOTAL to cook through, add the sauce mixture after a minute or two, and then remove chicken when cooked through and reduce sauce as detailed.

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