“Japanese” Chicken

In which I discover why reading is fundamental.

It’s probably good that I got bifocals the last time I went to the eye doctor.  Looking at this recipe, I swear I read “Japanese Chicken” and since it was on the same page as the Egg Foo Yung, I decided that we could have an Asian night and I would cook those recipes.  While looking at the recipe, I couldn’t figure out why it was called Japanese chicken when there was nothing Japanese about the ingredients.  When did they start using tarragon in traditional Japanese cooking?  But this was Iowa and well before I was born, maybe tarragon was exotic?  I also had a hard time realizing that “Pour over chicken” was not “Parmesan Chicken.”  Perhaps it was the handwriting?  Right before I went to cook this recipe, I realized that “Japanese” actually said “Popover”.  That gave me a lot of answers.Popover Chicken

But there were still more questions.  Like what kind of chicken?  Cooked chicken?  Raw chicken?  I took a guess.  I think I guessed wrong, but considering the information I was working with, it was certainly not as bad as it could’ve been.

We had gone to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Botanical Gardens and the kids had all gotten a coupon for a free junior cone of custard for completing the scavenger hunt, so we did backwards dinner where we ate dessert first.  I believe that things work out the way they should most of the time.  Because we had bellies full of custard, no one was hungry immediately upon getting home.  So it was less important that dinner took over a half hour longer than estimated.

As a warning to anyone that may try this, raw, still slightly frozen chicken thighs on the bone do not cook

completely at 350 for 50 minutes.  This information will come in handy for all sorts of things, so remember it.  However, if after 60 minutes, you turn the oven up to 450 and cook them for another 15 minutes or so, the pink goes away.DSCN2458

Another note, raw, bone in chicken produces a lot of juice.  This will make the popover part of the dish turn into something that somewhat resembles a dumpling.  Only the top of the popover is that delicious, light airy substance that we love to fill with homemade jam. (Not in this dish, but in general).


I think done correctly, using pre-cooked chicken, B/S chicken breasts, or some sort of shredded chicken, this would be a really nice sort of fun meal.  Like a pot pie…oh, like a potpie…That is a brilliant idea for someone’s upcoming birthday.

After this meal, I think I owe my family one of my normal meals with a delicious cake or great dessert.  Even if the main courses are crap, Great-Grandma made great cakes and desserts.

Popover Chicken

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 t salt
1 T oil
1 T chopped Tarragon

Beat first 4 ingredients together for 1 1/2 minutes.  Add oil.  Beat 30 seconds more.  (Do NOT overbeat)

Pour over chicken in a casserole. (Maybe this meant a chicken casserole, not just a casserole dish?) Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 or til done.

Egg Foo Yung

In which I think I should’ve ordered take-out.

There are times where I fail at a meal completely.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does occasionally happen.  Since John can remember, there have been only handful of meals that we absolutely could not eat.  This was one of them.  It wasn’t something like that episode of Chopped where the contestant mistook salt for sugar.  The dish didn’t burn.  The eggs weren’t spoiled. It was nothing that I did wrong.  It was the recipe.  Maybe cooking Chinese food created by Iowa farmers with German heritage was a bad idea.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  I do remember thinking while looking at the ingredients “how bad can this be?”.  DSCN2449

We spent the meal creating alternative names for this dish.  Egg Foo Yuck, Egg Foo Old, Egg What the F!&@.  It was horrible.  It tasted like the Rock River smelled a few years ago when the carp all got herpes and died.  The river was a stream of dead fish, the fish got caught up in the trees on the side of the river.  The smell was horrific.

The Egg Foo Yung was horror movie worthy.  It was like dirty socks mixed with dead fish.  The texture was silken tofu-y.

It was like something that Gordon Ramsey pulls out of a drain on one of those episodes of Kitchen Nightmares. You know what I’m talking about.

In case you are wondering, cans of chop suey vegetables are really just cans of bean shoots with 3 pieces of carrot and one piece of celery.  It is gross on so many levels.  It looks disgusting, it smells disgusting, there is nothing good I can say about it.  I’m hoping to not find more recipes that call for this ingredient.

Canned shrimp is probably fine in other uses, but even so it didn’t ruin the dish any worse than anything else.  I really can’t think of much that would make this dish worse except a can of tuna…and serving it with soy sauce like the recipe suggested.  Don’t do that.  It makes it worse.   DSCN2451

If you have decided that my description is not scary enough and you are going to insist on making this, it probably takes 20 minutes on low and covered to set the egg, but please, do not make it.  You will regret wasting the ingredients, you will think of all the delicious things you could’ve made with those eggs.

Thank goodness this was not the only thing we had for dinner.  The roasted beets with blueberry vanilla goat cheese and the zucchini and tomatoes cooked with Penzey’s Fox Point Seasoning were delicious.  And the other dish I made to go with it was something I thought was called Japanese Chicken, but that’s the next post.    Popover Chicken