Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Bun in the Oven Dinner Date!

I first conceived of this idea a few months ago. I have been anticipating the day when I could post this. This meal was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love.

Celeste is having a baby!! I could not be more thrilled for her and her family (or for me, I can't wait to cuddle a tiny little newborn without the inconvenience of night wakings! hee hee). Celeste is an awesome mom, and she is gestating one lucky baby!

What better way to celebrate Celeste's "bun in the oven", then by baking up some literal buns in my gas-fired oven?

Steamed Chicken Buns

I love Chinese steamed pork buns (Char Siu Bao), and wanted to try something like that. I did my chicken filling in the crock pot because, well, it's so much easier than bbq'ing or slow-roasting or what have you!

Chicken Filling:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese 5-Spice
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker; cook on low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is easily shredded apart.

Buns:

1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp bread machine flour

Add ingredients to bread machine; set on "dough" setting.

When bread machine is done, remove dough (gently!) onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Divide dough into two pieces. With your hands, roll each piece of dough into a 2-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 12 pieces.

With your hand, flatted the pieces into small circles. Scoop some chicken filling into the middle. Pinch up the edges, forming a little packet. Let buns rest for about 30 minutes.

Set a steamer pan over a pot of briskly boiling water. Lay each bun on the steamer for about 10 minutes, covering the pot, until the bun is puffed and the dough is slightly firm to the touch. Serve.

Pain au Chocolat

These are fantastic for morning playgroups - the dough should be prepared the night before, and the rolls don't take long to roll out, fill, and bake in the morning. And then the other mommies will adore you.

2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

8 ounces chocolate (semi-sweet, dark, milk all work well - heck, even toffee bits and peanut butter chips work well!)

Place all ingredients except chocolate in the bread machine. Set on the "dough" cycle.

When dough is finished, turn the dough into a deep, greased bowl. Cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Turn the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour. Divide the dough into 16 portions. Roll each portion into a (rough) square. Place 1/2 ounce of chocolate in the middle. Fold up each corner to form a packet. Place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the buns for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Let them cool a little, but they are best eaten warm!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So now you have some idea of what's been going on here! I have moving trucks pulling up to my house tomorrow (eep!), and Celeste is baking a baby. We are both preparing to send our first babies off to preschool in a few weeks (sob!). Once we are back in the swing, we hope to be much better about cooking new things for our kids and updating!

4 comments:

cathy said...

Yum! I love steamed buns too. My only complaint is they're so time consuming to make, and well, mine always seem to fall apart and look not so lovely. Still...delish! Worth the time and effort every now and then!

MaryAnne said...

I really want to try these two recipes - they sound delicious and I have no excuse not to - I even have a bread machine!

Except - what is Chinese 5-spice, and where do you buy it?

Good luck with your move (or I guess I should say unpacking at this point?)

And congrats to Celeste on the new baby!

kidfoodie said...

I found that you can just use your food processor to make the dough and then leave it in a bowl to rise (I hated my bread machine and got rid of it).
Lisa
SnackSnoop.com

redfish said...

Oh, wow... those both look divine (I'm actually drooling over that first recipe). And, I love that you are a bread machine mama - I want to marry my Breadman.

I'm so glad I found your blog - itty bittys unite!