We spend a lot of time in winter wondering how to whip up something for dinner that is both hearty and healthy. Naughty and nutritious. Satisfying and not fattifying. (Not a word and we’ll stop now – you know what we mean). This winter warmer from the forthcoming Itsu’s 20 Minute Suppers, by Julian Metcalfe and Blanche Vaughan (Octopus, £18.99), involves actual chestnuts (you can buy them here), requires minimal effort and takes, you guessed it, less than 20 minutes to cook. Which is something, when it’s cold, we very much like.
Chicken & Chestnut Donburi
200g (7oz) uncooked Japanese-style short-grain white rice
250ml (9fl oz) water
¼ tsp salt, plus an extra pinch of salt for the cooking water
2 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
250g (9oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
15g (½oz) fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 small white onions, cut into quarters
1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and cut into thin rings
70g (2½oz) shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, quartered
100g (3½oz) ready-cooked chestnuts
250ml (9fl oz) ready-made chicken stock
1. Cook the rice with the measured water and pinch of salt.
2. While the rice is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole with a lid or saucepan, add the chicken pieces and fry over a high heat for 1 minute until they start to colour. Remove to a plate.
3. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the ginger and garlic over a medium-high heat for a few seconds until they start to colour.
4. Pour in the soy sauce and mirin and let the mixture begin to boil, then return the chicken to the pan and stir to coat well in the sauce.
5. Add the onions, leek, mushrooms and chestnuts, chicken stock and ¼ tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and cook over a medium heat for 7 minutes.
6. Serve the chicken and vegetables on a bed of the rice, with plenty of sauce spooned over the top.