The traditional version of this recipe comes from northern Japan, and includes lotus and taro root, konnyaku (preserved konjac potato), and dried shiitake. For our version, I researched vegetables that could stand as reasonable substitutes for these less common Japanese veggies. I discovered that celery root could replace lotus root, and taro could be replaced by a mix of white and sweet potatoes. The resulting dish is a delightful, warm and savory, stew. We served it with a side of Japanese rice, although the dish is hearty enough to be served solo.
Simmered Chicken and Vegetables
- 6 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 celery root peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 medium sweet potato scrubbed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 medium russet potato scrubbed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 12 oz green beans halved
- 2 small carrots peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 small burdock rook scrubbed and sliced into 3/4 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 1/2 cups Katsuobushi Dashi* powdered, or fish stock
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp soy sauce gluten-free if preferred
- 2 tbsp sake
- Shichimi togarashi** optional garnish
- Place the cut carrot and burdock into a medium bowl filled with cold water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Allow to soak while preparing the other vegetables, to help avoid discoloration.
- Bring a pot of water to boil with 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. Blanch the celery root for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Remove from the boiling water and set aside in a large bowl. Then add the potato cubes and boil them for 4-5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the boiling water into the bowl with the celery root. Add the sliced green beans to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and add them to the same bowl as the other cooked vegetables.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the ingredients one at a time, starting with the carrots, celery root, potatoes, and chicken. Stir to coat in oil, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sake; simmer gently for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the green beans and continue cooking until all of the vegetables are softened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Ladle generous portions in to a bowl and enjoy!