All right. I thought everyone did this, but my friend A has assured me not, and thinks I have hit on a brilliant time-saving idea. Well. Brilliant I don't know. But here it is.
- Buy a whole buttload of chicken when it's on sale at Whole Foods.
- Separate it out into freezer bags, each bag holding enough chicken for one meal.
- Put marinade ingredients in the freezer bags with the chicken. (Don't bother to mix together prior)
- Seal the bags and squish the chicken and the marinade ingredients together to mix.
- Bring out of the freezer on the morning of the day you want to eat chicken. You can pull the chicken pieces out of the marinade and brown them and then dump the marinade in, or you can just dump the entire contents of the bag into a Dutch oven or chef's pan and simmer 45 minutes.
I try to include the following 5 elements, culled from fruit that's a bit past its prime, condiments, the spice rack, basically whatever's around.
- Acid: lemon, lime, orange, vinegar, hot sauce, wine, onions, olive juice, mirin
- Fat: Olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, ghee, butter
- Salt: Soy sauce, salt
- Sugar: honey, brown sugar, fruit, preserves, applesauce, piloncillo, molasses, barbecue sauce
- Pepper/spice: hot sauce, black pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, sriracha, curry powder, curry paste, salsa, sambal, kimchi, chili oil, mustard, Old Bay, ginger and/or garlic paste
It's very satisfying to get rid of the last 3 Tablespoons of some artisanal mustard you picked up somewhere or that odd can of coconut milk that's been skulking in the cupboard for half a year.
It's even more satisfying to get home from work and realize all you have to do is dump a bag in a pan and start the rice cooker.
Here are some variations:
Orange sesame soy style (at top): juice of 5 clementines (sugar and acid), 1/4 cup soy sauce (salt), 1 T sesame oil (fat), 1 T sriracha (pepper)
Burrito style: 1 can black beans, 1/4 cup mango hot sauce, 1 T olive oil, couple T red salsa. I thought better of the salt, I think the beans are salty.
Indian style: 3 T curry powder, 1 T ghee, 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 2 onions, chopped
Thai style: 2 T green curry paste, half a can of coconut milk, juice of half a lime. Oil not needed, there's oil in the curry paste. God this one turned out good. Finish with more lime juice at the end of the cooking time.
Iranian barbecue style: 2 T Worcestershire, juice of half a lemon, 1 onion chopped, 1 cup applesauce. Add a can of tomatoes when you cook this.