Gentle Readers, if there is one recipe The Practical Cook is asked to make most frequently, or at least was, it is this one. This history of Chicken Bowl’s name is a simple one: it’s a one-dish meal, best served in a bowl. No poultry are strapping on questionable shoes in this episode. The sauce is simple and made primarily from kitchen staples, and the flavor is off the charts.
Chicken Bowl Recipe
Adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry. This recipe can be made in larger quantities, but you’ll probably want to work with 2 large skillets if you choose to do so. And don’t even think about skimping on the sauce.
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (~1 inch pieces)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (use canola if you must, but beware the smoking temp)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (go heavier if you like, but the ginger will add heat)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 batch steamed broccoli (I trust I don’t have to spell this out, how much you want is up to you, this will serve about 4 people)
1 batch of cooked rice, preferably jasmine
1. Preheat the oven to the lowest possible temperature. Place a pie plate in the oven, ready to receive the cooked chicken bounty.
2. Season chicken pieces generously with a mixture of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the flour into a pie plate or similar dish with sides. Coat the chicken with flour, shake to remove the excess.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet, the largest one you’ve got. Swirl the skillet over high heat until the butter is melted (aka, the pan should be HOT). Add as many chicken pieces as will comfortably fit, bracing yourself for two batches otherwise. (Apparently the Whole Foods chickens are well endowed, that’s all I’m saying.)
4. Reduce the heat to medium-high, and saute until brown on both sides, around 4 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken bites. When they’re done, transfer to your heated pie plate in the oven.
5. While the chicken is cooking, chop the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes together to crush further the crushed red pepper. This is a very satisfying exercise, highly recommended. Also, blend the remaining ingredients (less the scallions) in a bowl and whisk until combined.
6. Without draining the fat, return the skillet to medium heat. Add the garlic mixture and saute until you smell it, less than a minute. Increase the heat to high and immediately add the sauce mixture, boil, stirring to keep it from burning and to deglaze the pan, until the mixture thickens to a light syrup, around a minute, depending on your preference and the size of your pan. (TIP: If it overthickens, add the accumulated chicken juices to thin.)
7. Bowl time: put rice, broccoli, and chicken in a bowl. Top with some sauce, sprinkle scallions on top. Eat with chopsticks, or at least make the attempt. The Practical Cooks Junior promise it tastes better that way.
What’s your go-to dish? Send me an email, or post a comment below!
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Up next, Caramelized Onions: Don’t Cry About Them.