Yield: 2 Servings
|1½ pounds||Skin-on bone-in chicken breasts (fresh)|
|2 \N||Nickel-size slices fresh ginger|
|1 \N||Thin whole scallion; cut in 3\" lengths|
|2½ tablespoon||Corn or peanut oil; (2 1/2 to 3)|
|4 mediums||Or 2 large Chinese dried black mushrooms (shitake)|
|1 teaspoon||Szechwan peppercorns|
|1 tablespoon||Finely julienned fresh ginger threads, cut hair-thin|
|2 \N||Thin or 1 hefty whole scallion(s), cut in 2 1/2\" lengths|
|¼ teaspoon||Dried red chili flakes|
|½ cup||Rich unsalted chicken stock|
|2 tablespoons||Thin (regular) soy sauce|
|1 tablespoon||Rice wine or quality dry sherru|
|1 teaspoon||Coarse kosher salt|
|1½ teaspoon||Unseasoned rice vinegar|
|1 teaspoon||Cornstarch dissolved in|
|1 tablespoon||Cold chicken stock|
|½ teaspoon||Chinese or Japanese sesame oil|
PAR-BOILING THE CHICKEN
STIR-FRYING THE CHICKEN
Parboiling the chicken: Rinse the breasts under cold running water and remove any bloody clots. Smash the ginger & scallions lightly to release their juices, and put them with the breasts in a small, heavy pot to hold the chicken snugly. Add boiling water to cover, return the liquid to boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Simmer the breasts 10 minutes. Remove the chicken immediately from the pot w. a Chinese mesh spoon or a slotted spoon, and spray with cold water to stop the cooking. Reserve the cooking liquid. Use to empty your freezer of bones & make stock. The chilled chicken may be sealed airtight and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature prior to cooking.
Other preparations: Soak the mushrooms in cold or hot water to cover until fully soft & spongy, 20 minutes to 1 hour. Snip off the stems, rinse under running water to dislodge any sand trapped in the gills, then cut the caps into long strips ⅛-inch wide. Roast the peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring for about 1 minute until they are fragrant & begin to smoke. Crush to a coarse consistency w. the end of a cleaver handle or in a mortar (I use a small coffee grinder - Holly)
Cut whole chicken breasts in half to one side of the keel bone. Leaving the skin in place, remove the meat in as much as one piece as possible. (You may discard the chicken skin if you wish, but it is customary in this dish to leave it on). Separate the fillets (some people call these 'tenders' - Holly) from the main pieces, and remove any membranes, fatty lozenges, and the tough tips at the end of the tendons. Much of the meat will be red, as at this point it is pnly partially cooked. Slice the meat crosswise, against the grain, into strips ½-inch wide. Cut long strips into 1½ to 2-inch lengths.
Cut the scallion segments lengthwise into slivers ⅛-inch thick and combine in a small dish with the ginger threads & chili flakes.
Combine the stock, soy, wine, sugar, and salt (NOT the vinegar), stirring to dissolve sugar.
Preparations may be completed several hours in advance. Seal the ingredients airtight, and bring to room temperature before cooking.
Stir-frying the dish: About 10 minutes before serving, have all ingredients and a Chinese mesh spoon or a slotted spoon within easy reach of your stovetop. Put a serving dish of contrasting color in a low oven to warm.
Heat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add the oil, swirl to coat the pan, then reduce the heat to medium-high. When the oil is hot enough to gently sizzle a pinch of peppercorn, add the peppercorns & let them sizzle until fragrant, about 5 seconds. Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent scorching. Add the scallion, ginger & red chili flakes & stir until the fragrance is pronounced, 10-15 seconds. Add the mushrooms, toss to combine, then add the liquids to the pan & raise the heat to bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring. Add the chicken, stir gently until it turns 95 percent white, then remove
continued in part 2