Saturday, February 16, 2008

V-day leftovers

After the Valentine's day meal, I had leftover kabocha squash and dashi left, so I found another recipe in the Washoku cookbook: Soy-Simmered Kabocha Squash with Minced Chicken (kabocha no tori an kaké).

I didn't have ground chicken, but I did my best impression of the guy behind the counter at a Mexican taquería and chopped the heck out of the chicken thigh I had in the freezer.

This recipe, as well as the previous kabocha recipe from V-day, used a technique unfamilar to me--using an otoshi-buta. An otoshi-buta is traditionally a wooden lid that's meant to rest on top of the food itself, instead of covering the pot. The purpose of this is to steam the food while simultaneously allowing the liquid to evaporate, concentrating the flavors. I don't have an otoshi-buta, so I used a lid from another pan to give the same effect. I think it worked pretty decently.

I served this with an extremely simple miso soup made from the rest of the leftover dashi and miso.

Soy-Simmered Kabocha Squash with Minced Chicken
(adapted from Washoku)
Serves 4

1/4 kabocha squash, cut into 12 beveled chunks with seeds removed but skin intact
1 1/2 cups Basic Sea Stock
1 tablespoon sake
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 oz ground chicken
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 scallion, finely chopped
salt, to taste
  1. Arrange squash pieces in a single layer, skin side down, in a pot.
  2. Add enough stock to cover the squash barely.
  3. Place an otoshi-buta over the squash and bring the stock to a boil over high heat
  4. Lower heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until barely tender.
  5. Add sake and sugar and flip the squash so that the skin faces up
  6. Simmer for 2 more minutes.
  7. Add soy sauce and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  8. Transfer the squash to deep individual serving dishes.
To prepare chicken sauce
  1. Strain the remining liquid if it looks very fibrous.
  2. Add the remaining stock and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the chicken, stirring well to break up any lumps.
  4. Season with salt if necessary.
  5. Pour cornstarch paste into the simmering chicken, and boil until the sauce thickens.
  6. Top each squash portion with the chicken sauce, and scatter scallions on top of each serving.


jko said...

This was a nice "homey" type of meal, which is a good balance with the richer food I've been having lately (I've been eating out a bit). The kabocha was also less overcooked than it was on V-day. I did miss the "zing" of the lemon though.

I liked that the miso soup was less salty than the kind served at typical Japanese restaurants.

Overall, good comfort food. I give it a B.

test it comm said...

This sounds simple and tasty.

Shannon said...

oh, how i love minced chicken. and squash. and miso and sake. it must be delightful to have them all together!

next time i need comfort food, i'll give this one a whirl. thanks for sharing! =)