November 29, 2011

Sesame Chicken with Mustard Greens and Shiitake Mushrooms

Mushrooms continue to be one of my favorite vegetables; both their firm yet tender texture and earthy flavor are appealing to me. Shiitake mushrooms are no exception, and might even be one the best varieties due to lovely appearance and smoky taste. Native to south Asia, shiitake mushrooms have been used in both medicine and cuisine for thousands of years. Though known by different names depending upon the country, the term shiitake, as we use in the States, is Japanese and refers to the type of evergreen tree on which shiitake mushrooms, among others, grow. Shiitake mushrooms have only been permitted for cultivation in the States since the early 1970s due to confusion with another variety of mushroom, Lentinus lepideus, which is an invasive species and prohibited by the USDA. Like other mushrooms, shiitakes are an excellent source of various vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Sesame chicken is especially good with rice and vegetables.

1 lbs chicken thighs, skin and bones removed

1 bunch mustard greens, roughly chopped

2 c shiitakes, stems removed

1 bunch scallions, cut into 2" segments

2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped

¼ c sesame seeds, toasted

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp mirin

salt and pepper

1. Place toasted sesame seeds in a bowl, add chicken thighs and toss until well coated. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pan over medium heat, add chicken and brown each side, about 5 minutes per side.

2. Once chicken thighs have browned, add mirin, garlic mustard greens and shitakes, reduce heat to low, cover and braise until mushrooms are tender, 5-10 minutes. Add scallions, gently stir to combine and remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chicken warm or room temperature.

Serves 3-4


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