Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Ham Fried Rice

Let me introduce my favorite homemade meal of all time: (Ok, one of my favorites. I have a LOT of favorites.) Sweet & Sour Chicken with Ham Fried Rice... It brings me joy. I personally like this recipe a lot more than it's take out counterpart. I'm not gonna lie, the time it takes to prepare is slightly daunting (90 minutes give or take), but soooo worth it. If you're up for a rewarding evening of cooking and eating, give this baby a try! 

Sweet & Sour Chicken (recipe from my super chef sis-in-law, Heidi Humphries)

2-3 chicken breasts cut into one inch cubes or strips
3/4 cup flour mixed with 3/4 cup cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag
4 - 5 eggs, beaten well in a large bowl
Canola oil for frying
Sweet and Sour sauce (below)

Add the cut up chicken to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Heat the oil until a small test piece of chicken immediately bubbles. Set up an assembly line: bag of chicken, bowl of egg, frying oil. Cook the chicken in batches by dipping each piece of chicken in egg and frying until golden and cooked most of the way through. Drain on paper towels and place in a 9 x 13 pan in a single layer but slightly overlapped. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over chicken and bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbly, about 35 - 45 minutes. If you have a ton of meat, you may choose to double the sauce (I like to have extra sauce, so I always double it). It won't really change anything but the cooking time because it may take longer to get all bubbly.  

Sweet and Sour sauce

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider is best...white is much too strong)
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 - 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with water

Combine everything but cornstarch in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it just starts to boil. Add cornstarch mixture a little at a time and cook until thickened to gravy consistency. 

Ham Fried Rice

4 Tbsp. butter 
Ham, about 3/4 cup finely diced (or more if you like) 
Cold rice, about 3 - 4 cups
Garlic powder 
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
Soy sauce
3 - 4 eggs, beaten with a little water

Melt the butter in a large pot. Sauté the ham over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and if it looks dry you can add a little more butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and stir really well. Pour in soy sauce a little at a time until it starts to look like restaurant fried rice, kind of golden. (Taste as you go... you want to make sure you don't add too much.) In a separate pan cook up the eggs until they are mostly scrambled, but runny. Add them to the rice and stir gently. Let it all sauté for a few more minutes until the egg is cooked.  

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