Chikuzen-Style Simmered Chicken

Chikuzen was the name given to present Fukuoka Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu during the Edo Era (1600 to 1868). This is the region where Chinese, Dutch, and other European influence first reached Japan and remained strongest over the years.

The vegetables in this recipe are mostly root vegetables, which can endure long cooking without loosing color and texture. Sato-imo, taro, is always included: its starch gives the broth a pleasant, thick texture.

You can substitute such vegetables as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus. With these vegetables, cut them into small pieces, parboil, and add to the pot at the very end of cooking so they will preserve their color and texture.

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Chikuzen-Style Simmered Chicken
Tori no Chikuzen-ni
serves 3-4
420
The Chicken
10 ounces skinned chicken thighs, with bones
1 teaspoon shoyu
2 Tablespoons all-purpost flour
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
With a cleaver, hack the chicken on the one into 1 ½-inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with 1 teaspoon shoyu. Let the chicken stand for 10 minutes. Note: I deboned the thighs for ease of eating, but cooked the bones in the sauce for flavor.
Drain the chicken, and wipe it dry with a paper towel. In a bowl, toss the chicken with the flour. Pat the chicken to remove excess flour, and let the chicken stand for 3 minutes.
In a medium pot, heat the sesame and vegetable oils over medium heat. Add the chicken, and cook until all sides are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot, and reserve.
The Vegetables and Seasonings
5 ounces gobo, (burdock root)
5 ounces lotus root
4 medium sato-imo (taro)
1 medium carrot10 green beans, stemmed and cut in half
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking wine)
2½ Tablespoons shoyu
Tamari to taste
Cut gobo rangiri-style 1 ½-inch pieces, and soaked in 2 cups of cold water with 2 teaspoons vinegar.
Cut lotus root rangiri-style into 1 ½-inch pieces, and soak with the burdock.
Cut sato-imo rangiri-style into 1 ½-inch pieces and soak in cold water.
Cut the carrot rangiri-style into 1 ½-inch pieces
Drain the burdock, lotus root, and taro in a colander.
Add the burdock, lotus root, taro, and carrot to the pot. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until all the pieces are well coated with oil, 1 to 2 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pot, and stir the chicken with the vegetables. Add enough water to the pot to barely submerge all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Gently simmer the mixture, covered with a drop lid, for 5 minutes.
Add the beans to the pot, and give several stirs. Add the sugar and mirin, and cook, cover with a drop lid, for 5 minutes.
Add the  shoyu. Cook the mixture, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the vegetables and chicken do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Season the mixture with tamari.
To Serve
Shichimi togarashi (seven-spice powder) to taste
2 Tablespoons minced parsley
Plain cooked white or brown rice
Serve the dish sprinkled with shichimi togarashi and parsley and accompanied by plain cooked white or brown rice.
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