November 14, 2009 by
I have many vivid kitchen memories; my parents shared the cooking responsibilities and I watched and learned. They both worked outside of the home, so when my siblings and I grew older we were asked to relieve them of that chore. I wouldn’t say all of those memories are fond (once my brother caught the kitchen on fire), but they are solid memories and I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully kept all the recipes that I’ve ever learned in my brain. They are there, imbedded forever, without error!
So I thought…
The other day, I dropped a fact gathering email to my sister asking about the origins of a recipe. I remembered how to make it, but not the creator of the delicious “Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Bell Peppers” and I was certain that she was the one who originally demonstrated this dish. You know the movie scene when there’s an inserted sound effect of screeching tires coming to hard stop? That’s the sound that played in my head when I read her response. ”It wasn’t me, I don’t like neither mushrooms nor peppers”. “Really?”, I mailed again. “No”, she repeated. “I would never cook that”. So much for my talent of recipe recall…geez, I can’t even remember that my sister doesn’t like mushrooms and peppers. Hmmm… ok, I’m chalking it up as too many recipes and not a reflection of any diminished capacity. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! The good news is that I do remember the recipe, just not the family member or friend who taught me this dish and my apologies go out to the original chef!
Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Bell Peppers
3 boneless and skinless chicken thighs ( we use range fed chicken because it tastes like chicken)
3 cups of fresh button mushrooms
3/4 cup of cooking shoyu (use a dark robust Japanese soy sauce)
1/2 garlic bulb (more if you really like garlic)
2 medium green bell peppers
Corn starch for thickening (Optional)
Trim all the fat of the thighs and cut into bite size cubes. Crush and chop the garlic and mix with the shoyu and pour over the cubed chicken. Stir well to coat all the pieces and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 30-45 minutes. Do not soak overnight as the flavor will get too strong in the chicken. While this is marinating, chop the bell peppers also into bite sized pieces and set aside. Wash the mushrooms, if they’re too large, then cut in half. After the chicken has marinated, pour the entire mixture into a pot and simmer until chicken is halfway done. At this point, add the mushrooms and continue simmering and stirring often until the mushrooms are cooked through. When the chicken and mushrooms are done add the chopped peppers. Keep stirring and let the peppers soften but retain their color. That’s it. No need for salt,pepper or other spices. It’s all about the garlic. Remove from the heat, then drain and cool before adding to your bento box.
If you’re eating this immediately, then thicken the liquid with a cornstarch/water mixture. Pour over the chicken, mushrooms and peppers then serve over rice.
It’s not a pretty entree and I resist garnishing with sesame or other embellishments as I don’t want to add any outside flavor. With that said, today’s featured bento box is a very “relaxed” one. Simple. Along with the above recipe, I’ve added steamed brown rice, roasted carrots (no garlic) and a single umeboshi!’
Note: Cooking a non-vegetarian meal is a little bit tricky for me. I don’t taste test it and have to rely on smells and that ironclad brain of mine! Not to worry, Saba Man has confirmed that this recipe is yummy.