Monday, July 1, 2013

Braised Baby Bok Choy

You see it all of the time in the grocery store but you have absolutely no idea what it is or how to cook it....Baby Bok Choy (also known as Chinese Cabbage). It is a smaller, younger version of regular Bok Choy, a member of the cabbage species Brassica rapa. Since it is harvested younger, it is more tender and the flavors are much lighter than that of typical American green cabbage. Even if you are not a fan of green cabbage, I would actually highly recommend giving Baby Bok Choy a try. If cooked properly, it is absolutely delicious! This recipe is not only simple, but will completely change your mind about sulfurous vegetables.

Braised Baby Bok Choy
Serves 9

9 heads Baby Bok Choy (they usually come bundled in threes)
Salt and Pepper, as needed
Oil, as needed
1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (as a flavor enhancer)

Cut each baby bok choy head in half lengthwise. Wash thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt. Shake off any excess water. Fold over several layers of paper towels and place bok choy on the towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Heat a large pan or wide-bottomed pot over high heat until hot. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Liberally season both sides of the bok choy with salt and pepper. Sear about 4-5 halves at a time. Sear cut side down first for approximately 3-4 minutes or until a golden crust appears. Flip to other side and sear another 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add more oil and repeat searing process for remaining bok choy.

*Be careful when flipping these as they are moisture dense and may leach some of their water out into the oil in your pan* Leave your heat on high and add more oil as needed. Bok choy will burn if there is not enough oil. Searing MUST be done on high heat in order to achieve proper caramelization. 

Once all have been seared, turn heat off to let cool slightly as to not scorch the onions from the searing temperature. Turn heat back on high. Add onions to pot and saute. Let onions saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Deglaze pan with chicken stock, add a splash of apple cider vinegar (for flavor enhancement), and add reserved seared bok choy back to the pot. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve in bowls with some of the braising liquid.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy recipe. Just remember, food takes on the flavor profiles that you give it, so cook with great flavor and you end up with great flavor! Happy cooking! ~Cathy