Most people, when they think of clay-pot chicken rice they imagine glossy brown chicken, sweet and juicy Chinese sausage, and fluffy soy-saucy rice served in a clay pot. I, on the other hand, just picture the rice cooker of my childhood. Growing up, we didn’t have a clay pot, but that didn’t stop my mom from making this traditional Chinese dish. Instead of a clay pot, she’d cook everything in the rice cooker for a fast, one pot meat of tender chicken, sweet sausage, earthy mushrooms and soy-sauce-soaked rice.
Clay-pot chicken rice was and still is, one my favourite comfort food dishes so I was excited to try the Momofuku version I found on gourmet.com. It’s actually a take on a Mexican stew made with Japanese ingredients and while it has some similar ingredients, it tastes nothing like traditional clay pot chicken.
While the clay-pot miso chicken was in the oven, it filled the house with a smoky, earthy, soy-sauce sweet scent that drove us crazy. After an hour of practically salivating at the mere smell, it was finally time to eat. It was definitely worth the wait: the chicken thighs were ridiculously fall-off-the-bone tender and the wood ear mushrooms added the perfect slightly crunchy textural contrast. Gingery, garlicky goodness and the umami of the shiro miso made for a completely satisfying and luxurious meal.
Clay-Pot Miso Chicken Recipe adapted from gourmet.com
4 chicken thighs with skin and bone
1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 a large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons shiro miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
sliced green onions for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat chicken dry, then roast, skin side up, shallow baking pan or dish until skin is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
While chicken roasts, soak wood ear mushrooms and shiitakes in hot water until softened. When soft, cut the stems off the shiitakes and slice. Set aside.
Transfer roasted chicken to a bowl and pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass measure. Let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. Add enough stock to bring a cup of liquid.
Reduce oven to 300°F.
Heat oil in a small heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions until softened and beginning to brown. Add ginger, and garlic and sauté until garlic is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add mirin and boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in miso and soy sauce, then stir in chicken, wood ear mushrooms, shiitakes, and stock mixture. Bring to a boil, skimming off any froth.
Cover pot and braise in oven until chicken is tender, about 1 hour.
Serve in shallow bowls with white rice.