I would certainly give this dinner a big thumbs up! I pulled a cut-up chicken from the freezer in the morning, and didn’t think much about what to do with it until one of the kids asked what great culinary delight was in store for them (not his exact words mind you)? I was in the mood to please, so I tried to think of something really impressive, “Chicken, infused with a gingery broth, sweetened with basil leaves form the garden, served with aged basmati rice!” With words like that, my children were expecting something very grand indeed!
When it came time to cook dinner I got a late start due to one thing or another. I asked if we could put the chicken thing off until tomorrow and make something fast (like a sandwich?), but I was pleaded and begged for the ginger chicken! I wanted to slow cook it, but now I had to think of a more efficient method. I decided to sear the meat which would give me a head start, and use a heavy casserole which would intensify the heat inside the pot.
I love using as little ingredients as I can when it come to cooking chicken in the summertime. I decided to blanket the chicken in big slices of onions, and use fresh basil leaves for sweetness, (as well as it adding a shock of color to go with the milky white complexion of the ginger broth). I had tiny button mushrooms, and they were the perfect last addition to this dish.
If you want to cook something impressively elegant and fresh with practically little effort, then this is the dinner you should cook this week. You will not be disappointed with the flavors, and the succulent tender meat. Throw it on the minute you get in the door and enjoy an hour chatting with the family while dinner cooks itself!
You will need: 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces (about 3 1/2-4lbs), 3 tbs olive oil, 2 cups baby mushrooms, left whole, 2 medium sweet onions. sliced whole into rounds, 14 basil leaves, left whole, 1″ piece of ginger root, peeled & quartered, 1 tbs minced fresh ginger root, (use the finest side of your grater or a zester), 1 cup white wine, (can be on the sweet side, like a Riesling or sweet-style chardonnay), 1 1/2 cups water, coarse sea salt (I use Maldon), freshly ground black pepper, 6 cups cooked basmati rice (2 1/2 cups raw for stove-top method & 3 cups using rice cup for rice cooker).
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Season chicken with salt and pepper. Put pan on high heat, add 2 tbs of oil and sear chicken in batches until browned (about 2 minutes per side. You may need to add more oil for second batch). Don’t try to do this in 1 step or the meat will not brown fast and crisply. Transfer to plate and set aside.
2 – In a heavy casserole or dutch oven (which has a lid) line the bottom with 1 onion, followed by 1/2 of the basil and 1 cup of mushrooms and 2 pieces of the ginger quarters. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp coarse salt and several grinds of pepper over everything.
3 – Next, add the chicken in an even layer, followed by most of the basil and the last 2 pieces of ginger.
4 – Top with a last layer of onion rounds, 1 cup mushrooms and a few basil leaves. Combine the minced ginger with the water and wine in a small bowl with a fork, and pour into the casserole. Add a few grinds of pepper, cover and place in oven for about 65 minutes.
While chicken is in the oven, cook the rice. I used a fantastic aged basmati by Swad (look in my pantry section for more details)
Remove from oven and let the dish sit for about 10 minutes before serving with rice in warm shallow bowls.
To serve: Put a cup of rice in bottom of bowl, top with chicken and vegetables, and add lots of gingery broth.