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  Clay pot rice.

Every good protagonist has an arch nemesis–that certain someone or something that throws off your game. Captain Ahab had Moby Dick. The Coyote had the Roadrunner. Me? For a short time, my cooking nemesis was Clay Pot Rice. This tasty, one-pot dish is deceptively tricky. “How tough could this possibly be?” I thought to myself before attempting it. I found that it’s tough enough that any wrong move can set off fire alarms and leave your dinner tasting like the inside of an ashtray. After a few failed attempts (ranging from mildly unsuccessful to Def Con 4-level failure), this tweaked recipe is the successful result of some experimentation and borrowing here and there from other recipes. The result? Clay pot goodness.

Prep time: ~45 minutes (including marinating time)
Total cooking time: ~60 minutes
Serves
: 4-6

Ingredients.

  • 2 lbs chicken breast cut into ~1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 sweet Chinese sausage diagonally cut into thick slices (sweet Italian pork sausage works in a pinch)
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 cups rice (washed/drained until water is clear)
  • Salt and pepper
  • MSG (put the Mmmmmmm in MSG)
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • Broccoli greens (or spinach) chopped into .25-inch strips
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion

Tools.

  • Tools
  • Clay pot
  • Knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon

Before cooking.

  1. Combine the soy sauce, ginger, simple syrup, sesame oil and corn starch in a bowl and whisk until ingredients are combined.
  2. Add the chicken, Chinese sausage and most of the sliced green onions (set some aside for garnish) to the bowl and mix until they are coated.
  3. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (overnight is best).

Cooking steps.

  1. Add peanut oil to the clay pot and bring heat to high.
  2. When the oil begins to get ripples, add the rice and salt and sauté the rice until the rice becomes translucent. Stir frequently to keep the rice from burning.
  3. Add the chicken stock so that the level is roughly 1 inch above the level of the rice. Season with salt, pepper and MSG to taste.
  4. Gradually bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until the stock has evaporated to the rice level. You will notice tiny holes form in the rice at this point. How long this step takes depends on your range. I recommend keeping a close watch on the rice/stock mixture in this step to avoid turning the rice on the bottom into carbon. Trust me on this. I’ve carbonized the rice on the bottom, which then essentially turns the clay pot into a smoker and your rice will end up tasting like it was baked inside of an ash tray. Also, I recommend using a wooden spoon to occasionally stir the rice at the bottom of the pot to help keep it from carbonizing.
  5. Add marinated chicken and sausage and stir into the rice. Cover the clay pot.
  6. Carefully transfer the covered clay pot into a preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Carefully open the cover of the clay pot and give it a good stir.
  8. Add the broccoli greens to the top of the rice mixture (do not stir in), then cover again.
  9. Turn heat to 500 degrees and bake for 1 minute only once your oven reaches 500. I’m not really sure why this step is important, but I know that it is important. Perhaps it super-heats the pot and keeps it from cooling too fast when the heat is turned down in the next step?
  10. Immediately reduce heat to 180 degrees.
  11. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. The key in this step is to wilt the greens and soften up any broccoli stalk that ended up in the pot.
  12. Turn heat off and remove the clay pot from oven
  13. Let the rice rest for 5 minutes in the pot with the lid on.
  14. Mix broccoli greens into rice and garnish with chopped green onions.
  15. Yummy!

 

 
         
     

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