Not Authentic Chicken & Broccoli with Mushrooms

I’ve mentioned my never-ending problem called “what do I make for dinner? I only have…chicken” before. It’s a constant issue in our house–especially when Chad and I are both at work all day and don’t want to go to the grocery store. Sometimes I even consider ordering Chinese or Thai. Then I remember my bank account and try harder to think of something to make with that chicken. In the spirit of being a real American and bastardizing the cultures of other countries, I frequently make this Chinese and Thai-inspired chicken and broccoli dish with mushrooms and white rice. It’s yummy, easy, full of vegetables, and it’s a great stand-in when you just can’t let yourself order take out. But don’t let yourself even begin to think that it’s authentic. The last ingredient will ruin any semblance of authenticity.

(Serves 2)

2 large chicken breasts or 4-6 breast tenderloins
1/2 C jasmine or other white rice
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 C white wine (dry is best but whatever works)
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp hoison sauce
1 Tbsp Open Pit BBQ sauce

Until you decide that I’m not at all worth listening to and decide to remove this from your google reader (no don’t!), please understand that I’m simply just plagued with an affinity for barbecue sauce. I have…four? in my fridge as we speak. I kick myself when I order fries in a restaurant and forget to ask for it. I just love the flavor and I can find lots of good ways to use it. I think of barbecue as a front-and-center flavor as well as a background flavor for other things–including Asian-inspired sauces.

And yes. I am going to tell you to brine your chicken again. This time, I want you to do it even if it’s not frozen. If frozen, heat a cup of water and put it in a bag with the chicken. Regardless of whether your chicken is frozen or thawed, it needs to marinate in the soy sauce for at least 20 minutes. This will give you time to cook up some white rice and change out of your work clothes or do dishes or look online for baby clothes for your boyfriend’s new niece or nephew. Or you can read about your favorite foodnetwork people. This time with the soy sauce is all about infusing Asian flavors into the chicken and the vegetables. It may seem expensive to go out and buy all of this stuff at one time (sesame oil, fish sauce, hoison sauce, etc.) but you don’t need a lot of each, it keeps for a long time, and you will use it all the time once you start making your own “take out” favorites at home. Think of them as pantry items.

Saute the minced garlic in a pan with the oil(s) over medium high heat. Pat dry the chicken and add it to the pan. Let it sizzle and brown and get delicious (Anne Burrell would be pleased with you). Flip when browned and cook the other side. Next, grate a tiny bit of fresh ginger over the chicken. The ginger adds a kick and an inherently exotic flavor, but if you aren’t much for ginger, leave it out. Now deglaze the pan with the white wine. Let this cook for two minutes before whisking in the fish sauce, hoison sauce, and barbecue sauce. Can you smell it? Doesn’t it smell incredible? Now lay all the sliced mushrooms over top of the chicken followed by the broccoli. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the temperature at medium-high heat and let the sauce steam the vegetables for about ten minutes.

When you remove the lid the broccoli should be steamed to perfection. Stir everything together to get a thin coating of sauce. Serve over rice (we use jasmine or basmati rice but brown would be yummy too). Pour a little extra sauce over everything so the rice gets nice and flavorful too. Top with finely chopped peanuts if you want a little extra crunch!

Would ya look at that? So flavorful but still inexpensive and perfect for rural folks who don’t have access to all types of cuisine. Fun fact: those chopsticks were given to me by the father of a friend of mine, Ned, who owns a Chinese/Thai fusion restaurant in Huntington Beach. His father saw me teaching Ned how to properly use chopsticks (he never stopped using them like a little kid!) and was so tickled that he gave me some nice chopsticks just because. When I asked him what the engraving meant, he said “Hundred year good marriage.” So I’ve got that going for me.

In other news, we found out today that Chad’s older sister is having a baby BOY. We couldn’t be more excited. Chad summed it up today when he asked his brother-in-law “Can you imagine the kind of nerf guns they will have in six years?!” Awesome.

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