Simmered vegetables with chicken 鶏と根菜の煮付け

japanese cake

This is a typical home cooked dish. Similar dishes, but more sophisticated ones, are called “umani” 旨煮 and “chikuzenni” 筑前煮, which are often served as New Year’s dishes. The type of dish I made here is generally called “nitsuke” 煮付け and is a homey toned-down version of these two dishes. It has a wider range of vegetables and all the ingredients are cooked together in one pot.

The reason for making this dish was to clean up some ingredients I had in our refrigerator. I deboned chicken thigh several days ago and it had been marinating in sake for several days. I had to use it or lose it. I also had a half daikon and burdock root or “gobo” 牛蒡. You could use any combination of root vegetables for this dish.

The amounts of each ingredients are totally arbitrary. You can make it with lots of chicken or chicken can be just a flavoring or no chicken. I used three chicken thigh (skinned and deboned) cut into large bite sized pieces. The vegetables included daikon (3 inch long, medium, peeled and cut into a half inch thick disk cut into quarters), gobo (half, skin scraped off under running water and cut into small “rangiri*” 乱切り pieces, soaked in acidulated (with rice vinegar) water, and carrots (two medium, peeled and cut into medium “rangiri” pieces).

*rangiri: This is a type of cut used often in Japanese cooking especially for long root vegetables. After peeling, you lay the vegetables flat on the cutting board and cut the first piece on a slant from the end, turn 90 degree and making another cut on a slant until it is completely cut up. Here is a visual aid.

I placed all the root vegetables in cold water in a pan and cooked them for 20-30 minutes or until the daikon and gobo are soft (they take the longest to cook). I drained and placed the vegetables in a pan and poured in dashi broth (about 3 cups, again I made dashi using a dashi pack) to just cover the vegetables. When the broth came to boil, I added the chicken pieces and turned down the heat to simmer with “otoshibuta” 落とし蓋. When the chicken pieces became opaque, I skimmed off the scum and fat that formed on the top of the liquid and added mirin (3 tbs) and soy sauce (2 tbs). I kept simmering occasionally skimming more scum and fat. After 10 minutes, I added more soy sauce (1 tbs) and checked the seasoning. I let it cool down. I reheated it before serving and garnished it with boiled green beans. I think, in a more traditional way, the seasoning of nitsuke is stronger with mirin, sugar and soy sauce. I tend to make the seasonings light, so you have to experiment to find the best seasoning for you. To make it simpler, you could cook everything using broth and seasoning but gobo and daikon will be milder if you precook as I did here.

This is again nothing special but very comforting (at least for me) food.

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