K wants a sous vide machine. It is second only to an iPad on his luv list of gadgets. We can’t even fit our cereal bowls into our cabinets so I’ve given the thumbs down to another one-trick-pony machine that will take up an enormous amount of space. And after making this chicken, mushroom, yam and lobster hash with lobster sauce from Chef Mike Isabella (for whom we are not exactly cheering to win) I think we do pretty damn well without a sous vide machine!
That said, we did have to modify the recipe in order to make it work. Instead of marinating a chicken breast and doing a confit of chicken thighs, we went back to good, old fashioned poaching. In fact, instead of chicken breast or thighs, we went with chicken legs because the organic, cage-free variety were on sale. Savin’ big money. After removing the skin from three chicken legs, we poached them in water (salty, like the ocean) with some dried ginger, allspice, clove and nutmeg (the spices originally meant for the marinade and the confit).
K finely diced a bit of shallot and pickled them with rice vinegar, sugar and water while I boiled a lobster tail and some shell-on shrimp in water. I pulled the shells off the shellfish (with my asbestos hands) so we could use them to make the lobster sauce.
In a large pot, I sautéed 1/2 shallot, some garlic and fresh ginger, a small fennel bulb (sliced), some allspice, a cinnamon stick, some peppercorns and nutmeg with the shells of the lobster and shrimp. Once everything started to smell caramelized and toasty, I added 1/2 cup of rum and a small box of clam stock and about 1/4 cup of chicken stock and let the whole mess simmer.
With that chaos in the background, K cubed a fresh yam and boiled it until it was tender. He sautéed some shiitake and oyster mushrooms in a bit of olive oil and mixed them in with the yams. The yams were really sweet and fruity and needed a good bit of salt and pepper to stop them from tasting like dessert.
The lobster sauce seemed to have reached a good flavor peak so we strained the shells, sticks and peppercorns from it and brought it back to a simmer. We added a bit of butter and, to thicken it, I also added a little slurry of flour/water. I chunked up the lobster and shrimp while K shredded the chicken and it was time for island “hash.”
The seafood flavors really came together in this tasty dish, but in a roasty, toasty way. The chicken was tender and juicy, the shrimp and lobster sweet and supple. The sauce was a mix of warm, exotic spices that simultaneously brought out the sweetness of the yams and toned it down (if that’s possible). The pickled onions were too oniony for me, but K said they added a lively bite to the dish.
It’s not often you eat lobster for dinner on a Wednesday night, but this is actually a great and pretty simple way to make it accessible. It’s affordable too, we used only one lobster tail and six tail-on shrimp. Lobster hash and lobster sauce make weeknight chicken an amazing treat!
Alterations: Pretty much everything. See original recipe, laugh at the amount of time, equipment and work it takes, then see above.
Soundtrack: Girl Talk (we’d been to the show the week before)