Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thaaat Sauce Is Hoisin

Gentle reader, welcome to another lesson in cooking the cuisine I like to call Ignorant American Fusion! In this installment, I’d like to tout the virtues of having a jar of hoisin sauce tucked away in the side door of your fridge, so you can quickly and easily make a dish with a passing resemblance to Chinese food (and by Chinese food, I mean the food you get in Chinese restaurants here in ’Mericker. See how this cuisine works?).

On a recent Saturday, I got three turkey drumsticks from the awesome turkey farm vendor at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket—at a very reasonable price of, like, $3/lb.—and prepared them in a manner that bore a passing (and I mean just barely passing) resemblance to Peking duck. I sprinkled the turkey legs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, and roasted them on a rack set over a pan filled with about an inch of beer. I roasted them at 400° for about 2 hours, flipping them a quarter turn every half-hour or so; let them rest 10-15 minutes; and then pulled the meat off the bone and served it (as shown above left) with scallion pancakes and snow peas. And, of course, hoisin sauce to line the pancakes! The rich turkey drumstick meat really is a great variation on duck, though I would never call it a substitute.

At a couple of bucks for a jar that will go a long way, since the flavor is quite intensely concentrated, hoisin is a really simple way to liven up weeknight dishes. You can use it sparingly, and you really don’t need to add much in the way of other seasonings, since they would either be overpowered by the hoisin or compete with it.

Here are a few of the many other things you could do with hoisin:

  • Marinate bone-in chicken breasts or thighs, or a boneless pork loin, in a mix of hoisin, olive oil, minced garlic and minced ginger (anywhere from 1 hour at room temperature to refrigerated overnight) before roasting at 400°

  • Add a dollop of hoisin to a stir-fry (veggie, beef, shrimp, what have you) and toss to blend a minute or two before you take it off the heat

  • Brush bok choi, halved lengthwise, with a mix of hoisin and vegetable oil before cooking on the grill

  • Toss asparagus with a mix of hoisin and olive oil before roasting at 400°

  • Marinate a skirt steak in hoisin, soy sauce, mustard, and minced garlic overnight before cooking on the grill and slicing thin (might be good with the bok choi above...)

  • Sauté diced onions over medium-low heat; add hoisin along with diced red peppers, frozen peas, and minced garlic; sauté 5 minutes and then add leftover rice or plain spaghetti and a splash of white wine/chicken broth/water; reduce heat to low, cover, and cook maybe 10 minutes

    As you can see, versatile! If you have come up with other ways to use hoisin, please share in the comments.

  • 1 comment:

    1. this looks delicious and i love it. do you think you could do the same thing with chicken legs? I feel like they wouldn't stand up as well as the turkey.