Arroz con Pollo Nikkei with Longfin Lager from San Diego
Arroz con pollo Nikkei
NIKKEI: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara. Photographs by Lisa Linder.
(Jacqui Small LLP, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group, 2015, $35)
- 2-1/3 cups short-grain white rice
- 2 cups Japanese beer (Asahi or Kirin)
- 1 tbsp. dashi powder
- 2 tbsp. mirin
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 lb. 2 oz. skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
- 8 shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup shiso leaves, finely sliced, or coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp. finely sliced spring onions (scallions), to garnish
Wash the rice in a bowl with plenty of fresh water using a circular motion with your hand. Drain the water and repeat three or four times until the water runs clear. Then, transfer the rice to a sieve (strainer) and let it drain for 15 minutes.
Prepare the broth by combining the beer, dashi powder, mirin, light soy sauce and salt in a pan; mix well and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the skins from the chicken thighs. Scrape off any excess fat and feathers from the skins with a knife. Stretch the skins out on a flat baking tray (baking sheet) in a single layer. Place a smaller metal tray, such as a roasting tin (pan), on top of them to keep them flat while roasting. Roast for 10–12 minutes until crisp and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, cut the chicken thighs into 1-inch pieces (they will shrink during cooking so don’t cut them too small) and chill until needed. Wipe the shiitake mushrooms, remove the woody stems and slice the caps. Add the sliced shiso or chopped coriander (cilantro) to the cooking broth and mix well.
Rice cooker method: Add the drained rice to the cooking broth, transfer to the rice cooker and top with the pieces of chicken and the slices of mushroom and garlic (do not stir at this stage), close the rice cooker lid and turn on. It should take about 15–20 minutes to cook. Once the rice cooker’s alarm beeps, let the rice sit for at least 15 minutes before opening.
Hob (stove) method: Choose a pan with a tightly fitting lid (preferably of glass). Add the drained rice and the cooking broth, top with all the other ingredients, place the lid on and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils (do not remove the lid at any stage during cooking or resting), turn the heat to its lowest setting and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for a further 15 minutes.
While the chicken and rice is cooking, cut up the crispy chicken skin into 1/2- to 1/4-inch squares. Then, stir half of the squares into the rice, mixing well, and scatter the remainder on top with the finely sliced spring onions (scallions). Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.
BALLAST POINT BREWING COMPANY’S LONGFIN LAGER
Award-winning San Diego-based brewery (and distillery) Ballast Point was founded in 1996 by Jack White and is the nation’s 31st largest craft brewer and one of the fastest growing. Known for their Sculpin, a gold-medal winning IPA, the brewery also produces a hoppy American stout (The Commodore), session IPA (Even Keel) and an imperial red ale (Tongue Buckler), among numerous other eclectic brews—many named after fish or fish terms—and 14 spirits.
Ballast Point Brewing Company’s Longfin Lager is a light-bodied, 4.5-percent ABV, German-style beer that’s a perfect complement to the Asian-inspired flavors in this month’s Arroz Con Pollo Nikkei recipe; the earthy flavor of the shitake mushrooms and mirin (rice wine) play well with the beer’s clean, dry finish that boasts just a hint of hops.
NOTE: I chose to prepare the dish in a rice cooker, and following the recipe couldn’t have been easier. It’s an ideal mid-week meal if you’re looking for something light and quick. Enjoy it on a cold night, in a warm house, and with good friends. Use less rice than it calls for so you’ll have a delicious broth with your rice.
—Geri Walcott, Events Manager, 36 Handles Pub & Eatery