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Beggars Chicken, Hangzhou Style

Poultry

Beggars Chicken, Hangzhou Style
Ingredients:
1 four-pound chicken, boned or not, chefs discretion, wings and legs not boned
3 Tablespoons thin soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine
3 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1/4 pound whole shrimp, shells and veins removed and discarded
1/4 pound smoked ham, cut in small cubes
1/2 pound dried bamboo shoots, soaked for half hour in hot water
10 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in half cup warm water for half hour, then stems removed and discarded, mushrooms quartered
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 scallions, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 or 3 dried lotus leaves, soaked for fifteen minutes
string and mud or rice paste
Preparation:
1. Cut the chicken down the breast bone and clean its insides.
2. In a plastic bag, add the soy sauce, wine, star anise, and the cinnamon, mix them then add the chicken, tie the bag tightly, and put it in a bowl so it does not leak, then refrigerate overnight, turn it once or twice. In the morning, take out the spices and place them on a paper towel to drain.
3. Mix the prepared shrimp, ham, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms, and set aside. Lay out the soaked and drained lotus leaves ready for use.
4. Heat the oil in a wok, fry the spices for two minutes, then discard them, and add the ginger, scallions and ground pepper and fry for one minute before adding the shrimp mixture. Stir well, then add this mixture to the cavity of the chicken, and put it on the lotus leaves, and tie not too tightly with the string, Cover this with two inches of purchased clean mud or rice paste and allow to dry for one hour.
5. Bake in a 400 degree oven for two hours until mud is baked and hard around the chicken.
6. Remove from the oven crack with a hammer, and remove the chicken from the mud or rice lotus leaf wrapping and put it on a platter. Cut the string and discard, and serve.

                                                                                                                                                       
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