Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms
I actually put this little side dish together as a side for a leg of lamb I intended to roast but when I opened up the plastic wrapper it had clearly gone off. As a last minute substitute, I ended up braising a piece of flank steak in a little broth with some lemon juice and capers.
I often pan-fry up bok choy and add some mushrooms, most commonly as part of an Asian meal, but here I have used western seasonings and, in a switch from my usual practice, I gave the mushrooms a long braise in chicken stock with garlic first. The result, much more than simply frying the mushrooms, makes them deliciously tender and meaty…
- 3 – 4 Shanghai Bok Choy;
- 1/2lb. sliced Button Mushrooms;
- 2 large cloves of Garlic, peeled;
- 1 pinch each Salt and dried Thyme;
- 1 – 2 pinches Black Pepper;
- 3/4 cup Chicken Stock;
- 1 pinch Sugar;
- 2 – 3 tablespoons White Wine;
First, heat up a couple of tablespoons of fat in a pan over medium heat. You can use oil, if you like, but rendered pork or duck fat will make the result much better. When the oil is hot, smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife just to lightly crush them and then add them to the pan, sautéing just until the garlic aroma arises and the cloves take on a little color. Now, add the mushrooms and stir to coat all the pieces with fat, then season with the salt, pepper and thyme. Add the stock and, when it starts to bubble, turn down the heat to low and let braise away.
Keep a weather eye on your pan and when the braising liquid has all been absorbed remove the garlic cloves and turn up the heat to medium again. Sauté just until the mushrooms take on a bit of a golden color here and there and then remove them to a bowl for the time being. If you like, you can complete the recipe up to this point and store the mushrooms in the refrigerator for a few hours (or even days, if it comes to that).
Prepare your bok choy by slicing each in half lengthways and then section the halves, trimming away the hard root parts. Make the sections about the thickness of a man’s thumb and keep the white parts separate from the green for now…
When you are ready for the final cooking, heat a little more fat in your pan over moderately high heat and add the white part of the Bok Choy. Sprinkle over the sugar, tossing as you fry, and when the white parts are starting to soften add the mushrooms. Continue stirring until the mushrooms are hot and add the wine. When the steam rises, throw in the bok choy leaves and toss quickly until they are bright green and just beginning to wilt. Plate and serve immediately.
Well, here is how I served the veggies… It was a shame the lamb didn’t happen but the flank steak turned out quite nicely. The mushroom pieces were nicely plump and tender and went well with the bok choy as they always do. I think, on the whole, I prefer my versions with ginger, oyster sauce, and the like, but this was nice too…