honey-ginger chicken thighs

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These chicken thighs are sweet and savory at the same time. It has the earthy notes of ginger with the tang of garlic, caressed with honey. The accompaniments are pan-roasted baby bok choy sprinkled with balsamic vinaigrette, purple rice salad, and a light fruit salad of pineapple, pomelo (a cousin of the grapefruit, very mild-tasting, not sour), cucumber, and pomegranate sprinkled on top, all drizzled with mayongchid syrup I had made when mayongchid was in season. But a lightly sweet fruit salad dressing will do too. 

Honey-Ginger Chicken Thighs
Marinating time: at least 12 hours
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons garlic (8-10 large cloves), minced
4 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-6 chicken thighs with the bone in, trimmed of excess fat

In a small saucepan, heat the honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and nam pla until just simmering. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large casserole dish, put the chicken thighs in a single layer, skin side down. Pour the sauce over the chicken, move the chicken around to get the sauce underneath it, and cover the dish. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Transfer the chicken thighs, skin side down, to a 10 or 12 inch oven-ready pan with a lid. Cover the pan with the lid. If the pan doesn’t have a lid, cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place the covered pan in the hot oven and bake 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and increase the oven temperature to 375˚F/190˚C. Turn the chicken so that the skin side is up. Bake an additional 20 minutes, turning the pan around half way through the baking time, until the chicken is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven. The pan drippings will be very sweet and strong and not really suitable for a gravy.

If you wish, make a pan sauce. In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Off the heat and stir in 2-3 tablespoons flour to make a thick slurry. Add 1 cup water and heat until thickened. Add a quarter cup of the drippings from the chicken pan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Aim for it to taste sweet and savory. For some zest,  chop up a small chili pepper and add it to the sauce.

jamaican rice and peas

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Rice and Peas with Jerk Pork, Boiled Green Banana, Roasted Carrots, and Pickled Ripe Banana

Long ago, I remember my mother grating fresh coconut to make the coconut milk that goes into rice and peas. She poured boiling water on the coconut in cheesecloth, and strained the milk, twisting and squeezing the grated coconut to give up the milk. Then she would gather all the ingredients in a big pot on the stove and cook it slowly, shifting the pot so the rice would cook evenly, and poking it with  chopsticks to let the steam out. It was a daunting complex recipe. Fortunately, the rice cooker was invented and coconut milk now comes in cans and UHT boxes. Thanks to my sisters for this recipe because making rice and peas is easier than ever! And if  company isn’t coming over to eat this much rice and peas, the leftovers freeze beautifully.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

1 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight in 3 cups water
1 carton coconut cream (250g)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 cups rice (rice cooker cups) Recommend Thai jasmine rice
3 stalks scallion, chopped in 2 inch lengths
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
water
salt to taste
1/2 lb salt pork, cubed or bacon, chopped

1. Rinse soaked beans and discard soaking water. Pressure cook beans with 6 cups water and a little salt until tender, about 25-30 minutes. Save the cooking water for the rice.
2. If using salt pork, rinse salt off, and pressure cook it separately with 4 cups water, 25 minutes. Drain and discard water
3. Wash rice and place in non-stick rice cooker pot.
4. Add beans and beans cooking liquid. Add coconut cream, garlic (optional), scallion, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. After adding the cooking liquid and coconut cream, add additional water to come up to the 7 mark on the pot. Stir.
5. Add salt pork, if using
6. Press the cook button. When the button pops up, taste and adjust seasonings.
7. Serve with fricassee chicken, stew peas, or jerk pork/chicken

Variation
If salt pork is unavailable, brown ½ pound of coarsely chopped bacon and add it to the rice just before cooking.

jamaican stew peas

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This is my mother’s recipe (via my youngest sister) for stew peas or stewed red kidney beans with beef and salt pork. It is a popular dish in Jamaica and is often eaten with dumplings, rice and peas, and “food”–boiled green banana, Irish potato, carrots, sweet potato, and sometimes boiled dumplings. Slow cooking all day is the best way to make stew peas,  but I came up with a short cut and cooked it in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes. If using the pressure cooker method, increase the liquid to four cups. I also could not find salt pork in Bangkok so I bought pork belly, chopped it up and seasoned it just as I would season the beef, braised it briefly in oil, then continued with the recipe.

Jamaican Stew Peas

  • 2 lbs. stewing beef
  • 1 piece salt pork (rinsed)I can’t always find salt pork anymore, so I’ve been using a pound of bacon
  • 4 carrots (2″ lengths)
  • 2 cans red kidney beans (19 oz. cans), but I prefer the equivalent amount in dry kidney beans and I just soak them in water the night before
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic
  • dry mustard
  • 2 beef bouillon
  • thyme
  • 2 cloves pimento (or ¼ tsp of allspice)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pick-a-peppa sauce
  • 1 inch of coconut cream block or 1 cup coconut cream
  • Approximately 3 cups beef broth
  1. Wipe excess moisture from beef; trim if necessary.
  2. Season beef with salt, black pepper, garlic, and mustard.
  3. Cut salt pork into 4 pieces, boil and drain; or dice the bacon
  4. Mix beef, pork, carrots (if you can add the carrots a couple of hours later, they’re less likely to be mushy) and drained kidney beans in crock pot.
  5. Mix beef bouillon powder in 2 cups of water, thyme, allspice, Worcestershire sauce, and Pick-a-peppa sauce; melt coconut cream in mixture.
  6. Pour sauce over mixture in crock pot, add enough beef broth to almost cover contents, and turn on low heat for 10 to 14 hours.
  7. One and a half hours before serving, turn up the crock pot to high to get it to simmer.
  8. One hour before serving, add dumplings.

Dumplings

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp shortening
½ cup hot water

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Melt shortening in hot water. Gradually add warm water so that dough holds together but is not sticky. Add more flour if necessary.

To make dumplings, pinch off 1 1/2 inch of dough and roll it between your palms into a skinny string of dough about 3 inches long. If using the pressure cooker, let the pressure out manually and remove the lid. Reheat the stew peas to boiling and drop all the dumplings in the pot. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook the dumplings until they float which might take 10-20 minutes depending on how many there are. You can halve the recipe if you prefer to have less dumplings.