Things are busy here at the Hershmossi household. We are hosting Thanksgiving on our own this year, and while we will be missing our loved ones in Spokane and Seattle, Sarah and I are excited to have people over. At the risk of sounding like a smug married, having 8-10 folks over for a casual Thanksgiving meal is going to be NO SWEAT after all of the formal dinner parties that we’ve thrown over the years. As Sarah pointed out to someone the other day, dinner parties for us usually involve such involved preparation that I end up tipsily sneaking into the kitchen to deep-frying or sauteeing the main course while everyone is still enjoying their salad. I know that Turkey Day is still pretty involved, but I am looking forward to throwing some meat in the oven, making some casseroles ahead of time, and kicking back with a glass of wine when 5:30 rolls around.
Not that we’re not totally geeking out either, though. I’m currently working on what I’m calling a “churkey stock” (frozen chicken stock from a few weeks ago that I am enriching with some turkey parts I picked up at the Mexican market) that we’re going to use for our gravy. Sarah is in charge of dessert and stuffing and is trying to come up with a signature Thanksgiving cocktail. I’m going to attempt to butterfly my turkey and serve it with sides both traditional (mashed potatoes, gingered carrots) and non-traditional (collards with shiitakes and oyster sauce, green beans with butter and soy). Sarah and I love to entertain, and the planning is half of the fun!
Part of planning for Thanksgiving involves clearing out the fridge. When it comes to fridge cleaning, I love to make fried rice.
In my mind, fried rice is just a combination of these four things:
1) cold rice that is at least a day old (ours was pushing a week)
2) some sort of meat, raw or leftover cooked
You can tweak the proportions to your liking, using as little as 1 ounce of meat per serving or leaving it out all together, using more or less rice as you like, and mixing up the vegetables to fit your taste. I’m going to give a very loose recipe for the fried rice that we usually make, but keep in mind that this is an extremely flexible, forgiving recipe – use what you have on hand.
Fried Rice with Egg
serves 4 as a main course
- vegetable oil
- 4-6 cups cold cooked rice that is at least one day old, preferably on the dry side (if you’re making rice the night before for this purpose, use a little less water)
- soy sauce to taste
- oyster sauce to taste
- 2-3 eggs
- up to 12 ounces any raw or cooked meat or shellfish, cut into little bits; leftover steak or pork works very well, as does shrimp. You can also use a few ounces of bacon, diced fine
- about 3 cups leafy vegetables that will cook down quite a bit, shredded (cabbage is our favorite; surprisingly, lettuce works well too)
- about 1-2 cups other vegetables, cut small (I like lots of scallion, Sarah likes lots of carrot. Mushrooms are good too)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- about 1 tablespoon ginger, minced (optional, but recommended)
- Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste
Preheat your largest nonstick skillet over high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Crumble the rice into the pan with your hands, breaking up any large chunks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is separated into individual grains and is very dried out. Add about 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and mix well.
Clear a well in the center of the rice and add a little more oil. Break the eggs into the pan and stir them into the rice, letting them coat the individual grains. When the egg is mostly set and the rice is well-mixed, remove the contents of the pan to a large bowl. Put the pan back on the heat.
If you are using bacon, add it to the pan now. If using any other meat, add a little oil and then the meat, cooking until no longer raw (if you’re using leftover cooked meat, all you have to do is warm it up). Add about 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and about 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Add to the bowl with the rice and return the pan to the heat.
Add a little more oil and the leafy vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and crisp-tender. Remove to the bowl and repeat this process with the rest of the vegetables. When the vegetables are almost done, add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds or so, or until the aromatics are flavorful.
Toss everything together in your bowl and taste for seasoning. You might need more soy sauce or oyster sauce. If you worked quickly, everything will still be quite hot. If it has cooled down a bit, you can carefully return the contents of the bowl to your frying pan and reheat, although the pan may be a bit crowded.
Serve with additional soy sauce and Sriracha at the table.