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Chinese Paella

Ingredients
  • 12 large chicken thighs (about 4 lb total) skinned, and deboned
  • 3 cups (3 1/2 to 4 oz) dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 pound Chinese sausage (lop cheong) or brown-n-serve breakfast link sausages
  • 3 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup thinly-sliced green onions (scallions)
  • 2 whole star anise (optional)
  • 1 pkg (1 lb.) frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • chicken stock
Instructions

Rinse chicken and mix in a deep bowl with 1/4 cup of the soy marinade. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 1 day; mix occasionally. Rinse mushrooms. Soak in about 3 cups hot water until soft, about 20 minutes. Lift mushrooms from water, squeezing liquid into bowl. Reserve soaking liquid. Cut off and discard tough mushroom stems. Thinly slice caps and mix with 1/2 cup of the soy marinade. Let stand at least 30 minutes. Drain and discard marinade from the chicken. Place chicken pieces slightly apart in a 10-by-15-inch pan. Bake in a 450 degree F. oven until thighs are slightly browned and no longer pink at the bone (cut to test), about 20 minutes. Reserve pan drippings. In a 14-inch (at least 4 1/2 qt.) paella pan (or a 5-qt pan) over medium-high heat, stir sausages until browed, about 10 minutes. Lift out with slotted spoon. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add rice, onions, and star anise to pan. Stir over medium heat until rice turns opaque, about 10 minutes. Carefully, to avoid sediment, pour mushroom soaking liquid into a glass measure and discard sediment. Add enough chicken broth to mushroom liquid to make a total of 6 1/2 cups. Add to rice mixture along with mushrooms and their marinade. Bring to a boil. (NOTE: I have used fresh shitakes and substituted additional chicken stock for the soaking liquid with little noticable change in taste. I think this step is more frugality than culinary.) Cover paella pan tightly with lid or foil, or pour mixture from the 6-quart pan into a shallow 5-quart casserole (about 10 by 15 inches) and cover tightly with foil. Bake in 350 degree F. oven for 20 minutes. Stir peas and chopped cilantro into rice, along with the drippings from the chicken. Lay chicken pieces alternaltely with sausage links onto rice. (If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 day.) Cover tightly and bake until chicken is hot and rice is tender to the bite, 10 to 15 minutes longer (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours if chilled). Sprinkle with remaining marinade. Serves 10 to 12. Soy Marinade. Mix 1/2 cup dry sherry with 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and 4 cloves of garlic, minced.

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