After a week of eating fairly heavy meals on the ski slopes (think chili, hamburgers, tuna melts, curly fries, etc), I am dying for a few weeks worth of lighter, healthier meals. And since the weather in NYC this week looks like it is going to hit the low 60's - which means that spring is finally coming - lighter, healthier meals seem even more apropos. So we went to the grocery store today and ended up with about $150 in new groceries (which is surprisingly easy to do in NYC given how ridiculously expensive groceries are), including a whole chicken. And since the whole chicken was by far the largest item we purchased, we decided to make it for dinner tonight. I have some other things defrosting in the fridge for later in the week, but you will have to stay posted to see what else we make this week. I have all sorts of ideas bumbling around in my head, but I'm not sure how many of them will come to fruition. My menu planning always seems to work a little that way - I write out a week's worth of meals and it is a good week if we actually make 3 or 4 of them. I guess that's not so bad if you really think about it.
I found this recipe on the NY Times website. I really enjoy the blogs and recipes that you find on the NY Times. Some of them are a little out there, but they are all very interesting. I rarely steam things, partially because until recently we haven't had a pot with a steamer basket. But we received the All-Clad Stainless Steel Multipot as a wedding gift and it occurred to me that this would be the perfect recipe to experiment with steaming in our new(ish) pot! I thought that the chicken was good, but not earth-shattering. Alex and I have made better chicken dishes at home. Granted, we have also made worse, but let's stick with the positive for now. The chicken is just barely kissed with the flavor of the sake and the steaming leaves the dark meat from the legs and thighs buttery and moist. It is so tender that it almost falls off the bone. The breasts are flavorful, but not as moist as you would hope for. And I thought that the sauce was a little sweeter and heavier on the citrus flavors than I would have preferred, but when you combined the chicken and the sauce it made a very flavorful and unique combination. We served the chicken with some black forbidden rice, the nuttiness of which I thought was a great foil to the sweetness and tenderness of the chicken. All things considered, I would make the dish again, but I would play with the ingredients a bit. In a lot of ways the dish reminds me of the Poached Chicken with Ginger and Scallion Sauce that we made back in the fall, but seeing as it was some time ago I can't provide a great side-by-side comparison.
Recipe after the jump!
Sake-Steamed Chicken With Ginger and Scallions
By Melissa Clark
3 1/2 pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 cups dry sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin or sweet sherry
1 tablespoon chopped ginger root
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, preferably black.
Place a steamer basket in the bottom of a large stockpot. Pour in equal amounts of sake and water, enough to reach the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring to a boil.
Generously salt the chicken inside and out; set breast side up in the steamer basket. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Steam the chicken until the juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, lemon juice, mirin, ginger and garlic.
Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a large cutting board; carve and set pieces on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.