This is one of my favorite recipes. It's easy and delicious, and it can feed two adults for four to six business days. Also this is a favorite recipe because I get to use a mezzaluna (pictured below), one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Growing up, my mama made me mince the old-fashioned way: constantly chopping with a heavy cleaver for 20-30 minutes. With one of these half-mooned miracles, I can get the same results in about five minutes. So using the mezzaluna is my way of letting my mama know she made me suffer for nothing. I still love her, though.
The recipe, after the jump.
Steamed Chicken with Ginger Scallion Dipping Sauce
1. In a steamer the size of the International Space Station, bring a gallon of water to a boil.
2. Clean the chicken and remove the neck and innards from the cavity. Set these tasty morsels aside for use in another recipe or discard. Rub the ground pepper and salt into the inner cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in 12-by-12-inch glass baking dish. Cooking will result in a large amount of chicken stock. To avoid a chicken that's half submerged in stock, I place the rack from my toaster oven over the baking dish. This keeps the chicken suspended above the pool of deliciousness that will soon form.
3. Once the steamer is ready, carefully place the chicken (in its glass dish) inside the steamer. Steam for two hours. Periodically check the water level and add water as needed.
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4. Meanwhile, for the sauce, peel and chop the ginger and garlic. Similarly chop the scallions. Combine ginger, garlic, and scallions onto a cutting board. Using a mezzaluna, mince these ingredients until fine and evenly blended. Transfer to a small bowl. Add salt and canola oil and mix until even.
5. When the chicken has steamed for two hours, remove from heat, remove lid, and let rest for 15 minutes before moving or cutting, otherwise the extremely hot and tender meat will fall apart in your hands. Once cooled, remove the legs and wings. Chop the remainder into 1-inch pieces. Serve with ginger dipping sauce, rice (see below) and your favorite veggies.
Stock: With the clear, flavorful chicken stock you've now collected in the glass dish, you're on your way to a myriad of other amazing recipes, including rice for the chicken. My favorite thing to eat with this steamed chicken is rice cooked in fresh chicken stock. Use this to cook 2 cups of jasmine rice and you're well on your way to spiritual bliss.
For less fat: Before placing the chicken in the steamer, pierce the chicken's skin multiple times with a sharp knife or fork (12 to 20 times), especially the skin around the fatty areas, e.g., thighs. Be careful to not pierce the actual meat. These pierces will help the fat drip out into the baking dish. Before using the stock you've just collected, first pour it through a strainer into another container to remove impurities. Then, refrigerate for three hours or until the floating layer of fat solidifies. Carefully remove the layer of hardened lard, and now you have yourself about a quart of 99 percent fat-free chicken stock.