Creamed Bok Choy with Ham

I believe I’ve mentioned this dish before – it is one of our favorites – simple, yet deeply tasty. To really appreciate it fully, use homemade chicken stock and real chicken fat. If you don’t have a jar of schmaltz in the fridge, use the skin of two chicken breasts, fry them in the wok to render their fat, and use that. Of course, you can use peanut oil, and canned chicken stock – but make it this way first – you won’t regret it.

CREAMED CHINESE CABBAGE

1 lb. bok choy (celery cabbage), trimmed, washed and cut into 1″ strips

1 1/2 T cornstarch

1/4 cup whole milk

2 T rendered chicken fat

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

3/4 cup home-made chicken stock

1 cup diced Smithfield ham (or other country-style ham)

Set the washed, drained bok choy near the stove. Combine the milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and set that nearby, too. Heat a wok for 30 seconds over high heat, then add the chicken fat and heat for another 30 seconds. Add the bok choy and toss to coat all the pieces with the fat. Stir-fry for about one minute (adjust heat to medium if the fat begins to smoke). Add the salt, sugar and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover the wok, turn the heat to low, and simmer until the bok choy is tender (about 10 minutes). Heat a serving dish briefly in the microwave, then, using a slotted spoon, scoop the bok choy out of the wok and into the dish, being careful to retain all the liquid in the wok. Stir the milk-cornstarch mixture to recombine it, and add it to the wok. Simmer the liquid a minute or two until it thickens, then pour it over the bok choy. Strew the ham over the top and serve at once.

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