Sunday, 19 October 2008

Twice-Cooked Crispy Chicken

We've been trying to stick to a budget recently and part of that process was making a meal plan (and sticking to it!) so that you only bought what you needed when grocery shopping and weren't buying anything and everything that catches the eye. (I'm a terrible grocery shopper. I want to try so many things. DD says that I'm not really embracing our new financial situation).

Anyway, making a meal plan is something I've tried before and I do really like having the structure and I really like knowing that I've got everything I need before I start cooking. There's no "I'm too tired to think of something". The problem I have is actually making the meal plan. I always seem to leave it until right before bedtime on a Friday night (grocery shopping happens on Saturday morning) when I'm so sleepy that having to stop and think makes me a little cranky. DD is starting to help more and more with suggestions which does make it easier. I think what I might do is have a second list next to the grocery list on the fridge to put meal ideas on. Then when it comes times for the plan, the ideas part is mostly done and it's just the logistics to do. I like working out logistics.

What does this have to do with Donna Hay's Twice-Cooked Crispy Chicken? Well, it was late one Friday night and I was trying to think of six meals that would be relatively easy, didn't have expensive ingredients and didn't use anything fresh that wouldn't keep until the end of the week (I have a particular problem with basil and coriander. Anything using those two has to be cooked on a Monday or Tuesday or the herbs aren't as nice as they could be. See, logistics!). I had a pile of cookbooks next to me and I ended up pulling out Donna Hay's Simple Essentials:Chicken.

This recipe poaches the chicken in an Asian-style liquid with ingredients like soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, star anise and a cinnamon stick. I love poached chicken. DD does not like any other cuts of chicken other than breast fillets but I love moist juicy chicken and I don't care what part it comes from. I found that a nicely poached breast fillet can give me my juicy chicken fix. Chicken baked in a foil pouch in the oven does it pretty well too. Once the chicken has been poached it is left to dry and then it is cooked in a frying pan over a medium high heat and allowed to crisp up.

Our standard cut of chicken is boneless skinless breast fillets and because our chicken had no skin, there was nothing to crisp. All the frying really did was dry the chicken out. I was very careful because there was no skin on the chicken and didn't fry it for anywhere near the 5 minutes Donna says to, but it still was enough to dry it out.

The flavour was great though, nice and light. It wasn't enough to make me want to cook it again though. I can get the same flavour combination from other recipes. However, one day I may return to it with a proper cut of chicken, but it won't be for a while.

If anybody has any success trying the recipe properly, let me know how you found it.

Twice-Cooked Crispy Chicken
from Donna Hay Simple Essentials: Chicken p72

1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) Chinese rice wine
2 tbs brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 x 200g chicken breast fillets, skin on
2 tbs peanut oil

Combine all ingredients from the soy sauce to the cinnamon stick in a large pan over medium heat. Allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes of each side. Drain the chicken on a wire rack and allow to dry. Heat a clean large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 4 minutes or until the skin is very crisp. Turn and cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Slice and serve with steamed greens.

1 comment:

  1. Could be good, with some skinful chicken. You know how they do that crispy-skin chicken in Chinese restaurants? Imagine if you could do THAT! But there would be too many bones for your man... maybe when he's out of town.
    I haven't tried this: but i do make crunchy chicken with thigh pieces, crumbed and either slowly fried for about half an hour or baked in teh oven.
    Good attempt.