It’s Spring, but feels like Winter. The mercury level has not risen above 15 degrees Celsius the past few days. We have had a temperature of as low as 6 degrees Celsius during the day last week. To aggravate the situation even more, it has been raining cats and dogs.
To redress the dreary and depressing weather, I yearned for something warm.
Here’s what I made to liven up my body and soul during this chilly Spring climes. A bowl of warm goodness 😀
Slowly but Surely
When I moved to Belgium many donkeys’ years ago, I brought my brand new slow cooker with me. By the way, I have not been using the slow cooker in years, until quite recently, when we moved house end 2011.
See how new my slow cooker looked like.
Slow cooking may sound like – duh – slow and a waste of time. Well, I think slow cooking is analogous to the “tortoise” in Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. A winning ‘loser’ – an unexpected STAR!
Yep, SLOWly but definitely, surely 😉
As this post suggests, there are three main stars – Chicken, Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger.
I used the dried shiitake mushrooms in this recipe to enhance the flavour of the soup. Dried shiitake mushrooms can be stored for months in the kitchen pantry. The shelf life will even prolong if you put a paper packet of silica gel, which is used as a desiccant to control any humidity in order to avoid spoilage of the mushrooms. I was lucky to have got a packet of the silica gel when I bought a bag of the dried shiitake mushrooms.
This recipe is not adapted from any recipe books, but done out of memory of my Mum’s kitchen. All the ingredients I used in this recipe are readily available in my kitchen pantry and refrigerator.
(Serves 3 – 4)
2 chicken legs (skin removed and cut to divide into thighs and drumsticks)
8 – 10 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes until plumped up and remove stems)
5 cm piece fresh ginger (julienned)
2 cloves garlic (minced with coarse sea salt)
2 spring onions (cut in 2 cm length)
Soy sauce to taste (I used Kikkoman soy sauce)
½ to 1 capful of brandy or whisky (I used Jim Beam’s Bourbon Whisky – please note this is optional if you want an alcohol-free broth)
1 large carrot (cut in rounds or on the bias)
Salt and pepper to taste (or you may want to use chicken stock cube to taste in lieu of salt)
1 – 1.25 litre water
1 – 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1. Sauté the julienned ginger and garlic in sesame oil, until fragrant
2. Assemble the slow cooker with the cut chicken parts (thighs and drumsticks) at the bottom (Note, you may want to pre-fry the chicken before transferring to the slow cooker. I did not pre-cook the chicken to save time)
3. Add the sautéed sesame oiled garlic and ginger mixture, then followed by the spring onions, carrots, soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, whisky or brandy, water and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Set the slow cooker on High. This will take about 3 hours or until the chicken meat slightly falls off the bone.
My kitchen smelled heavenly with the amalgamation of the aromas of ginger, garlic, sesame oil and whisky – just as I remembered when I was in my Mum’s kitchen.
This is what I called “comfort food”, warming my cold, chilly Spring 😀