Thursday night, I was feeling a bit depressed,maybe because of the rain or because knowing what's for dinner later. But still, I decided to make the balsamic soy glazed chicken wings and roasted green beans with mushroom as planned earlier in the week. The idea of having some new side dishes along with the so-so pastitsio somehow lifted my spirit. It would be even better, if say, we can have a bowl of tummy and soul warming chicken soup!
So that's the plan for dinner. First, the chicken wings and green beans were sent into the 450F oven for a good 40 minutes, while I prepared for the nourishing Chinese Chicken soup. Since I can't find much Chinese herbs here, I have to make do with whatever I have. Instead of using a whole chicken like what my mum does, I find using the roasted chicken bones are far more efficient, not to mention budget friendly. Afterall, I am not interested to eat the chicken meat after it's been cooked for more than 2 hours. The flavor of the meat would have all gone into the soup.Not that it is a bad thing, but, the fact is: most of the flavor actually comes from the bones. So it was quite a waste of chicken meat in my opinion, to use a whole chicken for the soup. What I normally like to do, is to roast the chicken, with bones and skin on. Then skin and bone the chicken after it is cooked. While the meat could be enjoyed the way it should, the bones are reserved for another use, in soup!
For the chicken soup, I added some chopped carrots, onion, chinese dates, goji berries, an apple (cored, sliced and unpeeled)along with the chicken bones. Yes, apple! I tried chicken soup with apple once in a Singapore hawker center and remembered how sweet the soup tasted. Although I wasn't sure which type of apples were used, I took a leap of faith and added one granny smith into my soup. It turned out really tasty. In fact, the tastiest I have had so far, since coming to St Louis. It was a simple recipe, all you need is time and patience, for the soup has to simmer for two and a half hours. But I think it's definitely worth the time.
So much on the soup. Another winner was the balsamic soy glazed chicken wings. The high baking temperature had formed a crispy skin on the chicken wings, which continued to stay crispy for few more hours after they were done. A simple reduced balsamic and soy sauce was then poured onto the chicken wings, rendering them an interesting sweet and tangy taste. I like it a lot and will choose this over the deep fried chicken wings anytime!
The roasted green beans with mushroom was great too! I just like the way veggies caramelised after roasting. All the flavor from the veggies just intensify after roasting under high heat for half and hour or so. It's fool proof, and a delicious ways to eat our veggies!
Balsamic Soy Glazed Chicken Wings
(adapted from Gourmet Dec 2006)
4 lb chicken wingettes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Line 2 large shallow baking pans (17 by 11 inches) with foil. Put pans in oven and preheat oven to 500°F.
Pat wings dry, then toss with oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and divide between preheated pans, spreading wings in 1 layer. Roast, without turning, until golden and tender, about 35 minutes.
While wings roast, simmer vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.
Remove roasted wings from oven and let stand in pans 1 minute (to make wings easier to remove from foil), then transfer with tongs to a clean large bowl.
Pour balsamic mixture over wings and toss to coat well. Let stand 5 minutes, then toss again.
Cooks' note: To make wingettes from regular chicken wings, cut off and discard tips from chicken wings with kitchen shears or a large heavy knife, then halve wings at joint.
Makes 4 (main course) or 6 to 8 (snack) servings.
Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms
(Adapted from CL Sept 2006)
6 cups quartered cremini mushrooms (about 1 pound)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450°.
Combine first 4 ingredients on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with thyme and pepper. Toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until beans are lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt; toss to combine.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)