I have very warm thoughts about this cookbook. Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library: Chicken. And it’s not so much about the recipes, although I have had great success with many of them. It is because once, a very long time ago, my non-cooking husband went to Williams-Sonoma in NYC, on purpose and not being dragged by any woman. He bought this cookbook and the special tools he needed for his recipe and came home to his heavily pregnant, stuck on bedrest for 12 weeks wife, and cooked her “real food” from a cookbook, with special tools and multiple ingredients. And if I didn’t know it before, I did then, he was a keeper.
I have included both pictures from the real cookbook and my own and I want to point out a couple of notable differences. In my defense, I was on the phone the entire time I was making this recipe with a survey taker, so was not as focused as I usually try to be. That said – it really does speak to the ease of this recipe that you can make it and be distracted at the same time. So in the real picture the green onions are sliced lengthwise and they are much prettier than my small rounds — I wasn’t paying enough attention when I was cutting. Also, the real picture has a lovely brown color to the sauce and chicken that I do not have either. I’m not sure why. I used a dark sesame oil, so perhaps it was the store-bought chicken stock. The cookbook suggests that you make your own — I beg to differ on a weeknight. Plus I’m not someone who just has that lying around. Perhaps I should; I also know I never will.
- 2 whole chicken breasts (that means 4 individual)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, thinly sliced (here is where I stopped reading) lengthwise and then cut crosswide into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger for garnish
They say to halve, skin, and bone the chicken breasts as directed on page 10-11. I say buy boneless skinless chicken breasts – duh! Place the breasts between 2 sheets of waxed paper and, using a rolling pin, flatten them slightly and evenly. I used a kitchen mallet and pounded them with great satisfaction whenever the survey taker paused for a breath.
Place chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper.
Cut the halves lengthwise into strips 1 inch wide.
Warm the oil in a large saute pan or wok over medium heat.
Add the garlic and chicken and saute the chicken, turning the pieces as them become golden, about 1 mintue on each side.
Stir in the green onions, fresh ginger and pepper flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the garlic and discard. (Maybe I wasn’t paying attention again, but my garlic had been minced through a garlic press (my fabulous and awesome Pampered Chef garlic press that is totally worth going to a party for) and not left whole – so therefore could not be removed – seems silly anyway)
Transfer the chicken and onions to a warmed platter. Pour sauce over the top. Garnish with the crystalized ginger.
I served this over a Jasmine rice and it was a huge success with everyone! However, since everyone really liked it, it was not remotely enough food. So next time I will definitely double the recipe. The boy child (who is arguably my pickiest eater) found the crystalized ginger “too spicy” and requested that next time I add the garnish after I serve his plate. Easy fix and he did eat his entire serving and look around for more. The other kids were sneaking in the pantry and shot-gunning the ginger – so there is no accounting for taste bud differences. I think this might be good with some Nan and a green salad and carrot ginger dressing – unless it becomes ginger overload — something to try next time – not that I have that recipe, but something to look for. Hubby got home late and ate it cold, thought it would have been better hot, but was afraid to nuke it in case it messed up the flavors -which he liked.