I feel that fried rice is one of those dishes that never quite gets the recognition it deserves. Google it: day old rice… clean out you fridge… throw in some left over meat… bada-bing bada-boom and you got yourself a cheap meal. This perception saddened me. Just go to your favorite Chinese joint and look around you, it’s present on many tables. Fried rice miraculously complements any entrée in the menu. By itself, is fabulous. Plus, veggies and carnivores can dig in harmony. But it’s almost become an afterthought. So in this week’s post, I pay tribute to the one that many of us love yet may have overlooked. I present – chicken club fried rice
I’ve titled this club because the recipe was developed to infuse bacon in every bite. The flavor from the bacon comes from rendering the fat. The liquefied fat is bacon gold – there’s your base flavor, no additional tutelage necessary to make it taste good.
I fry the ingredients in batches to make sure each one cooks evenly and to ensure that it absorbs more bacon flavor. But be forewarned: yes we are using grease but it doesn’t mean this has to be ultra greasy. An integral part of mastering a recipe goes beyond following the instructions. Much like the art of making something taste good - making something not greasy is a cooking milestone. The bacon oil serves a couple of purpose: taste and help break up the rice grains. A little of it goes a long way. Coupled with a non-stick pan, your use of bacon oil should not exceed 3-4 tablespoons.
Season everything well in advance: the chicken, shrimp, egg and rice. The cooking process here goes by quick and there’s no time for things to meld or develop flavors that’s associated with a long cooking process. The flavors from your ingredients should start releasing before it even hits the pan – salt helps this along.
I typically add these veggies because they are a classic combo to any stir-fry’s. They lend their flavors well to the rice, cook quickly and is an awesome filler – making it a fabulous one dish meal. I’ve adjusted the steps for this recipe because I recreated it after taping the video and found it came out with similar results. I change the heat element in the steps to adjust to the ingredients I’m cooking. Have a big bowl ready on the side and stretch out your arms, you'll be doing a lot of mixing ☺
Chicken Club Fried Rice
4 strips of bacon
1 cup chicken breast sliced thinly in strips*
1 cup sliced shrimp
3 cups of cooked rice, cooled
3 large eggs
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2/3 cup scallions, sliced in small pieces
2/3 cup carrots, julienned
1-1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
salt and pepper for seasoning
Season the chicken, shrimp and rice with salt and pepper, set aside. Beat and season the eggs.
Add the bacon in a non-stick pan, spread it out in one layer. Turn the heat to medium high and cook the bacon until it is browned. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside in a big bowl. Pour out the excess oil in a small bowl and leave 1 tablespoon in the pan. Fry the chicken just until it’s 2/3 of the way cooked. Pour the chicken in the big bowl. Add the shrimp into the pan, cook for 2 minutes and add it into the bowl along with the chicken.
Turn down the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of bacon oil. Fry the mushrooms, garlic, scallions and carrots for 4-5 minutes. Add the rice. Turn the heat back up to medium high. Mix until the vegetables are fully incorporated into the rice. Pour the rice mixture in the bowl.
Turn the heat down to medium heat. This step is going to go really fast. Add 2 tablespoons of bacon oil. If you notice that the pan is smoking, take it off heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and whisk vigorously to create the curdles, about 15-20 seconds. Do not do this any longer or the egg will over cook. Add the bowl with all the cooked ingredients and cabbage; turn the heat back up to medium high. Mix, do this for 5-8 minutes until the chicken cooks through. Serve or reheat later, this dish gets even better the next day.
*You can also marinate the chicken in soy sauce for a richer flavor.