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Chicken Chao with Rice Noodles

If you happened to read my last entry, you could assume that when pasta dough is made, brined chicken is not far behind, and you would be correct in this assessment. With the leftover egg whites from last Monday's dinner, a freezer bag brined a chicken breast* in the whites, salt, pepper and paprika overnight.

A stir fry is not something I typically make, although after seeing how quick and flavorful of a meal this was, it is sure to become part of the weeknight rotation. I adore a one-pot dinner after a long day of work, a slushy, delayed train ride home, and a coaxing walk with our small dog enduring the cold ice on her paws.

Once inside for the night and changed out of my day drag, my attempt at this dish I was making up as I went along seemed like a great idea. SInce I don't have a wok, I hoisted my heavy Dutch oven onto the stovetop. Even though these are meant for slow cooking, I figured the thing is still made of cast iron (albeit enamel-coated) and it's the largest pot I own.

Prep went pretty quickly from here on out. I rinsed and slivered the chicken and sliced up everyone else who would be joining the party - snow peas, a carrot, shiitakes, red cabbage, a shallot and parsley. I tossed some canola oil into the pot, then the shallot rings and chicken, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. As the chicken cooked, I added a couple of ingredients that seemed to make sense - hoisin sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce, toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes. Once the chicken was fully cooked, I added all of the vegetables except the mushrooms, as they take very little time to cook.

Meanwhile, I had soaked the rice noodles in hot water and soft boiled two eggs. Does not a six-minute egg make anything more delicious? They're in Asian noodle soups all the time, so it made sense to me.

One more round of the sauces along with the noodles and shiitakes, and this new meal was coming together nicely. Each bowl was topped with one whole egg and dinner was ready.

Man, was it good! Spicy but not burning, crunchy from the vegetables and rich from the egg. Frank and I both finished our entire servings, a rarity here. Stay tuned for the next one, we'll see what happens then!

*I brine all chicken. Brining is a wonderful step intended to draw out the natural moisture of the bird and replace it with with a marinade or sauce in your cooking. Most brines are based around water and salt, but I try to use egg whites whenever I have them lying around. It helps with adding juiciness to the meat.

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