Simmered Chicken and Vegetables

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

Our version of this traditional dish from northern Japan includes sweet and russet potato, carrots, green beans, celery root, and burdock. The results are delightful – warm and savory. After examining the burdock closely, my boys both gave it a try and agreed that it tasted like a cross between carrot and parsnip. They both asked for seconds, which is high praise!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chicken, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, Whole Life Challenge
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

Thanks to Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s “Japan: The Cookbook” for the original recipe. If you’re interested in authentic Japanese cooking, this book is incredible, with 400 pages of traditional recipes. 
*You can make Katsuobushi Dashi (a seafood-based stock) from scratch, or you can purchase packets of powder. If you’re not familiar with Japanese cooking or ingredients, we recommend you start with the powder. Don’t omit it from the recipe altogether, as it adds “umami” (literally, “deliciousness” in Japanese).
** Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese seven-spice pepper blend. We love it, and sprinkle it on eggs, chicken, and anything else we can think of!
We served scoops of Japanese rice alongside the simmered chicken and vegetables. Don’t mix the rice in, but eat it as a side dish.
Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine, similar to sake but sweeter. Avoid purchasing “aji-mirin” (which translates to “tastes like mirin”), because it likely includes added sweeteners. You can find true mirin online, or Bon Apettit suggests substituting a dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine.
 

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