Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lunch Week 23: Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Chicken in black bean sauce with string beans and rice I wanted to try my new rice cooker out. Each one cooks differently so I need to tell if I need more water or less for the rice. As you can see, I like the simple ones. The rice comes out fluffy but a little dry. Next time, I need to add more water. Otherwise, the rice is good. As for the chicken, I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I like to but my meat in bulk, then separate them into portion sizes for the freezer. This method saves a lot of money and time. Also, I like to defrost my meat in the fridge overnight or in the sink for an hour or so. I never use the microwave defrost option. I've tired it before and the meat's consistency comes out very strange. If worse come to worse, immerse the bag of chicken in warm water. Oh and don't forget to trim the excess fat. Chicken thighs have higher fat content so it's important to trim any visible fat. Once trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces, I marinate the meat. I add chopped black beans, garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce, mirin, and flour. I heat a large pan with oil. Then I sautee the chicken until cooked through. I add some water at the end to make a pan sauce. Don't forget to scrape up the yummy brown bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. Next, I sauteed up on string beans that I got from my CSA. I mix the yellow and green ones. I cut off the edges first, then cut each bean into bite sized pieces. I cook these in just oil and salt until tender but still holds a crisp bite. Lastly, everything comes together in one bowl. First, the rice on the bottom. Then the string beans. Last, add the chicken with lots of sauce on top. The sauce will moisten the dryish rice on the bottom and flavor the beans along the way. The chicken is juicy and has a lot of flavor with the black beans and garlic. The sauce helps the rice a bit. But more is needed. The beans are a little bland but in a good way here. They're a nice contrast to the heavier tasting chicken. They are more refreshing. I like this lunch a lot.

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