Friday, December 8, 2006

quasi-cantonese beans and rice

From food

Other name possibilities include krypto-cantonese beans and rice, pseudo-cantonese beans and rice, or my personal favorite: meatrice. (Sorry, Chef YumYum, this one's not for you!)

This recipe is a schlepped-together version of something amazingly delicious and flavorful that I had at a friend's house a while back. This friend prepared an enormous dinner for many people, focusing on Chinese food. Not the General-Tsao's-Chicken-kind - the closer-to-what-people-actually-eat-in-China kind.

As an aside, I've been to China once, and MAN did I eat some good food. I wasn't really culinarily aware enough yet to commit any of the meals I had there to memory, so I really don't know much about Actual Chinese Food beyond the fact that I never ate any General Tsao's Chicken or fortune cookies there. (Although, I did have something that a friend translated for me as "black tofu" from a street market in Beijing, where Chinese people were selling all kinds of parts of animals and bugs and things - all on sticks, incidentally, from what I recall - to amaze and horrify the Americans and Australians wandering through. It was a pretty touristy thing, but fun. I recall mostly Australians eating the weirder items they had... Anyway, the black tofu was decidedly unremarkable when I ate it, but it made me spectacularly sick soon thereafter. The guy who sold it to me told my Chinese-speaking friend that it was "seasoned, and then left in a moist dark place for several days," while giggling maniacally. SHOCKING that it made me violently ill... ANYWAY as it turned out I didn't die in China and returned to America to write in this blog. Ha ha.)

So the friend who made the somewhat "authentic" (as far as I know) Chinese meal copied a recipe for me called "Cantonese Clay Pot Rice." All I have is that photocopy, and I have no idea who wrote the recipe or what book it's from. So if you happen to recognize the butchered elements of your recipe here, random chef, please don't sue me too hard. Remember, I have a lawyer roommate.

Quasi-Cantonese Beans and Rice

about 1/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon multi-purpose flour
1 chicken thigh, thinly sliced

1 1/2 c. chicken stock/broth/whatever
1 c. long-grain rice (I used basmati because that's what I have in a long-grain variety)
about 1/8 c. barley (it's okay to go without the barley, but I like how it makes the rice taste a little heartier and nuttier)
3 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
about 3/4 c. cooked red beans*
2 oz. Canadian bacon, thinly sliced***

a generous handful of chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Pour hot water over the porcinis just to cover them and let them stand about 20 minutes to soften. Drain, saving the water. Press the mushrooms to get all that tasty mushroomwater out. Rinse them to get rid of any remnants of dirt that may be stuck to them. It's a good idea to strain the mushroom water through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to get the dirt out of that as well.

Stir the soy sauce and flour together in a small bowl, and toss with the sliced chicken in to coat. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

In a clay pot** combine the chicken broth, strained mushroomwater, rice, barley, ginger, mushrooms, and beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle the sliced Canadian bacon and sliced and marinated chicken evenly over the top of the rice, cover the pot, and bake it in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes. All the liquid should be absorbed, the rice fully cooked (and the chicken!), and it should be slightly crusted to the edge of the pot. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top. The variety of textures makes for an exciting meal!

From food

*I like to buy dried beans and cook them in a slow cooker with delicious broth and spices, then keep them in small containers in the freezer and pull them out as I need them. The red beans I had on hand were cooked in chicken broth with bay leaves until al dente, so they wouldn't be obliterated when I cooked them into a recipe. Canned beans would of course do fine, when rinsed, but fresh beans always make such a difference. Try it! Perhaps I'll blog about my beans some time.

**This is the ideal. I don't have a clay pot. I do have a le creuset dutch oven, however, which I love very much. This worked really well.

***Chinese sausage would be a great addition, as it is called for in the original recipe that I'm riffing on here. I didn't have any, though.


Amica Curiae said...

I have several comments:
1) nice use of the word "schlepped." it's one of my favorties.

2) don't worry about getting sued. you are what we lawyers call "judgement proof." that is, you have no money to go after. and considering your chosen line of work... or study... that probably won't change much. or at least before the statute of limitations runs.

3) this was possibly the best meatrice i've ever had.

Erielle said...

Yes, please blog about your beans sometime! I have two bags of dried beans in my cabinet and I keep meaning to try to figure out what to do with them. I am afraid of them turning out bland. No one likes bland.

LEO said...

Becki - so ... does poverty earn me the write to post whatever copyrighted material I want on my blog, then? (ha ha)

Erielle - Yes I will blog about my beans!!! I'm about due for another batch of black beans, which take a long time when I do them in the slow-cooker, so hopefully before I leave for OR... if not, then in January! I too despise bland.

Peter said...

Looks tasty. Does "meatrice" rhyme with "Beatrice"? I'm going to name my daughter Meatrice.