\Foodie 04.01.2011

Clay-Pot Miso Chicken

* 16 chicken thighs with skin and bone (5 pounds)
* 1/2 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
* 10 cups water, divided
* About 4 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth (32 fluid ounces)
* 2 (c) stalks burdock root (sometimes called gobo) or salsify (optional)
* 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
* 3 tablespoons canola oil
* 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
* 1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, large caps quartered
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
* 1 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
* 1 cup white miso (also called shiro miso)
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 1 lb mustard greens, tough stems and ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (16 cups)

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.

Pat chicken dry, then roast, skin side up, in 1 layer in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan until skin is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

While chicken roasts, soak wood ear mushrooms in 4 cups water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve, then rinse well and discard any hard pieces. Drain well, squeezing out excess water.

Transfer roasted chicken to a bowl and pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass measure. Let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. Add enough stock to bring total to 4 cups liquid.

Reduce oven to 300°F and move rack to lower third.

Peel burdock root, and, if more than 1-inch-thick, halve lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Transfer burdock root to a bowl, then add vinegar and 2 cups water.

Heat oil in a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions until softened and beginning to brown. Add shiitakes, ginger, and garlic and sauté until garlic is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add mirin and boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in miso and soy sauce, then stir in chicken, wood ear mushrooms, burdock (drained), stock mixture, and remaining 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any froth.

Cover pot and braise in oven until chicken is tender, about 1 hour.

Stir in mustard greens and continue to braise, covered, 5 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls.



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