Lemon Chicken with Agretti

April 25.09

This dish is just so beautiful that I had to write about it. It comes from the stephencooks website, one of the quality food blogs out there. He has been a major source of inspiration for me since I became a lapsed architect.

Recently, Stephen was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so he took some time to get his life together and began anew with recipes to fit his new diet regimen. This is one of the first.

“Skinless boneless chicken breasts — or thighs, if well-trimmed of fat — always work very well for a healthy diet, whether you’re looking to control your blood glucose level or just trying to stay trim. They’re low fat, have zero carbs and are a good source of protein and so they frequently show up in diet regimens or recommendations.

The challenge with boneless breasts is, lets face it: how to make them interesting. The Chinese have a technique, however, called veleting which, with a little planning and a few simple ingredients, turns bland, dry chicken breast meat into a tender, juicy treat with a nice slippery feel in the mouth. I’ve learned this technique from years of cooking from Irene Kuo’s excellent The Key to Chinese Cooking.”

Low fat is not why I cook, but this looked intriguing, so I tried it. I used thighs – at least they have a modicum of flavor, and paired it with agretti, a green vegetable with a bright, lemony taste and succulent texture.

I have a Chinese steamer. It’s a one-purpose utensil and a bit of a frivolity, but an inexpensive frivolity. The problem is where to keep it. I keep mine on top of the washer-dryer, wrapped in large plastic bag. I need a step stool to get it down. But I digress.

The dinner is easy to do, and as noted, beautiful in every step of its preparation and as served.

April 25.09

Prep and marinate the chicken. Slice the lemons. Wash the agretti. Arrange the chicken on a glass pie plate, spoon the sauce over and arrange the lemon slices on top.

April 25.09

Put the chicken on the lower lever of your steamer.

April 25.09

Put the agretti on the upper level.

April 25.09

Chicken is cooked.

April 25.09


Lemon Chicken with Agretti
Adapted from Stephencooks.com

2 chicken thighs, skinned, boned, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin
8 thin lemon slices, seeds removed

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 egg white, slightly beaten with a fork
1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Mix the marinade ingredients with the chicken and marinate refrigerated for 30 minutes or more.

Mix the sauce ingredients together. Spread the chicken on a plate that will fit in your steamer and spoon the sauce over it. Place the lemon slices on the chicken, around the edge of the plate.

When the water in your steamer pan is boiling, place the plate in the steamer, cover and steam for 25 minutes over medium-high heat. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate or place the cooking plate on a larger plate to serve.

Serve with rice.

Trim, carefully wash and put the agretti in the steamer. Once cooked, season with salt and pepper and toss gently with your best olive oil.

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