Being Chinese I hate to waste food. I roasted a whole chicken, and after carving it up, saved the carcass to make chicken and rice soup. They say chicken soup is good for the soul; well, it is also a good light supper with a salad on the side.
Every cook in Jamaica has his/her own version of rice and peas. There are recipes that you cook on the stove top and those you cook in a rice cooker. But every rice and peas recipe that I know of uses salt beef or pork to make the broth, except this one. I thought I would try it to see how it tastes. Andy said he missed the smoky flavor of the salt beef, but otherwise, it was full of flavor.
Rice and peas is almost always accompanied with chicken. The fricassee chicken recipe that follows is my mother’s. It’s very simple and relies on seasoning salt to flavor the meat. Then you add tomatoes, garlic and onions, salt and pepper, and that’s it.
Rice and Peas (adapted from The Essential NYTimes Cookbook)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-4 scallions, sliced thin
2 cups jasmine rice
one 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk, well shaken
1 1/2 cups water
1 sprig thyme
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper or Habañero pepper
two 15 oz cans small red beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups dried)
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
If using dried beans, soak overnight in enough water to cover. Drain, then cook in fresh water to cover in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a Dutch pot with a tight fitting lid over medium heat.
Add garlic and scallion and cook, stirring, just until softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat if necessary to prevent browning.
Add the rice, coconut milk, water, thyme, Scotch bonnet, beans, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat then stir well, reduce the heat to very low. Cover tightly and cook without disturbing for 25 to 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is very tender.
Taste. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Fluff rice before serving. Serve with a fricassee of chicken.
4 chicken legs
3 chicken thighs, preferably boneless and trimmed of excess fat
3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large Dutch pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil on medium-high. Sprinkle seasoning salt generously on the skin and undersides of the chicken. Brown the chicken pieces then set aside.
To the oil remaining in the pot, add the tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Cook until the onions are just beginning to soften. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until the chicken pieces are done. Taste and adjust seasoning.
The last time I made this chili was in New York where all the Mexican chilies are available, so I’ve had to improvise and use what was available in Bangkok. I used sweet bell pepper, goat chili, and green chili in this recipe. It was not bad!
White Chicken Chili
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
3 pounds boneless chicken breast with skin on
seasoning salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil, plus more if needed
2 medium green bell peppers
3 medium goat chilies
2 medium onions
2 medium green chilies, chopped fine
6 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used 3 cups water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 small lime quartered
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with seasoning salt. Be sure to get some under the skin too.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Fry the chicken, skin side down 4 minutes or until golden brown. Turn, and fry on the second side 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly then remove the skin and discard.
In the workbowl of a food processor, put half the bell peppers, goat chilies, and onions. Process until fine. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Repeat with the remaining peppers, chilies, and onions. Add to the first batch in the bowl. Set aside. Don’t wash out the bowl. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and set aside.
Re-heat the liquid in the pot and add half the chili-onion mixture, all the garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt. Cook 10 minutes or until the mixture cooks down to one cup. Remove from heat and scrape into the food processor along with 1 cup of the cannellini beans, and 1 cup chicken broth. Process until smooth.
Scrape into the Dutch oven and add the chicken back to the pot. Add the remaining chili-onion mixture, the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth, and half the green chilies. Then cook 15-20 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside until cool. Add the remaining cannellini to the pot and cook 5-10 minutes or until cooked through. Taste, and add the remaining green chilies if desired. Shred the chicken breasts and add it back to the pot. Turn off the heat. Serve with limes and cilantro, no need to add additional salt.
This recipe is a family favorite. I found it in a cookbook whose title I forgot and over the years I’ve perfected it. This recipe never fails to disappoint for the juiciness and flavor of the chicken. Five Spice Powder is available from Asian supermarkets; it has a wonderful anise scent without being overpowering. It adds just the right amount of flavor to the chicken.
In a small bowl, blend the soy sauces, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, oil, and Five Spice Powder. Put the chicken in a large zipper lock bag and pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken. Close the bag and turn the chicken so that the marinade gets evenly distributed. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours, turning once half way through.
Preheat the oven to 450˚F/230˚C. Prepare a roasting pan with rack. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the rack, tucking the wings back. Discard the marinade.
Roast 10 to 15 minutes at 450˚F/230˚C then reduce the heat to 350˚F/175˚C. This crisps the skin and the soy sauces caramelize it. Continue roasting for 25 to 30 minutes. At 25 minutes, test the thigh and breast with an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165˚F. Be careful not to over cook the chicken or the breast will dry out.
Carve the chicken and serve it with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce for chicken (Also available at Asian supermarkets), and a spicy chili dipping sauce (recipe to follow).
Spicy Chili Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 large cloves garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons water
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
This dish is light and flavorful, served with bacon wrapped cabbage wedges and spaghettini with garlic and lemons. It’s the perfect supper for a weeknight or date night!
Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives (adapted from epicurious)
8 chicken thighs with skin and bones (2 1/2 lb)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 oz/400g) can crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Garnish: fresh thyme leaves
Accompaniment: spaghettini with garlic and lemon
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken in 2 batches, about 8 minutes, transferring them as they are browned to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme to fat remaining in skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, olives, salt, and pepper and return chicken to skillet. Simmer, covered, turning chicken occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Garnish with thyme leaves.
Cabbage with Bacon
To make the cabbage with bacon, cut the cabbage into quarters then cut each quarter in half. Sprinkle each wedge with salt and pepper. Wrap each wedge with half a strip of bacon and bake in a 350˚F/175˚C oven for 10 minutes or until the bacon crisps and the edges of the cabbage darken and brown.
Spaghettini with Garlic and Lemons (adapted from epicurious)
1/2 pound of spaghettini
1 cup reserved cooking water
zest of two lemons
4 large cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook the spaghettini in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the rest.
In a large 12 inch skillet or wok, heat 1/2 cup olive oil with garlic and pepper flakes until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the zest, salt and pepper. Add the cooked spaghettini to the skillet and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 skinless chicken legs
1/2 tablespoon sweet and hot mustard (can use Dijon)
1/2 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish (can use 2 teaspoons dried tarragon)
1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream (can use 1 cup plain Greek style yogurt)
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Oven-proof pan with a lid. This means the handle is metal and can stand high temperatures in the oven. If you haven’t got such a pan, you can use a 9×13 inch pan covered tightly with aluminum foil
Heat oven to 350˚F.
Skin legs and trim off excess fat. Season with salt and cracked pepper. Set aside.
Cook’s Note: To skin a chicken leg, grasp the bony end and the fat end with paper towels. Pull skin down from the fat to the bony end and pull right off.
Heat oil in an ovenproof pan. Sauté chicken legs until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the pan. Don’t discard the oil and the browned bits in the pan.
To make the sauce, add the mustards, tarragon, cream, and chicken broth to the pan. Stir to combine scraping up the browned bits. Bring to a simmer then return the chicken to the pan. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken.
Cover the pan and bake 20 minutes. Uncover the pan and bake 5-10 minutes more or until sauce is thickened and reduced.
Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper. Chop up about a tablespoon tarragon leaves and sprinkle on top of the chicken and sauce.
Cook’s Note: You can add 1/2 cup of chopped celery to the sauce while it is cooking. After the sauce is done and just before serving, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of cilantro and scallion that has been chopped fine.
• 8-grain or multi-grain bread
• steamed broccoli and sautéed spinach.
We ate Chinese twice this weekend. To change things up, I made chicken kebabs that had been marinated in yogurt and paired them with oven-roasted vegetables. Since the vegetables cook at different times, I parboiled them. That is to say, I cooked them in boiling salted water so that they could roast in the oven at the same time. The caveat to this recipe is not to marinate the chicken more than 6 hours because the yogurt tenderizes the meat; any longer and the meat turns to mush. Marinated for 3 hours, the grilled chicken turned out moist and tender and so savory. To serve, all you do is sprinkle the lemon dressing on the meat and eat with tzatziki sauce on the side.
1 boneless skinless chicken thigh cut into strips 2 inches wide
3 cups chicken tenders cut into thirds
1/2 cup plain low fat or fat free yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small onion, quartered
1/2 cup sweet bell pepper cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
6 shiitake mushrooms, whole
6 small tomatoes, whole
6-8 metal skewers
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Sugar, optional (only if the dressing is too tart)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cups cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup plain low fat or non fat yogurt
1/4 cup green pepper
1/4 cup onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 heaping tablespoons each fresh herbs, e.g. mint, dill, cilantro
2 tablespoons white vinegar, plus more if it’s not tart enough
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Sugar, optional (only if the sauce is too tart)
Make the lemon dressing and the tzatziki sauce. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together until they emulsify. Stir in the garlic and rosemary, and season to taste. Put all the ingredients for the tzatziki sauce in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is chunky and season to taste. Refrigerate the dressing and the sauce until ready to eat.
Marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture and refrigerate. Take it out of the refrigerator and thread 2-3 pieces of meat on the skewer, leaving a little space in between. Top the end of the skewer with sweet pepper, onion, mushroom and tomato. Repeat process until the chicken is finished. It makes about 8-10 skewers. Discard the marinade.
Grill in a 200˚C/450˚F oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges of the meat and vegetables become slightly charred.
1 daikon, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 large potato, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 cups broccoli florets
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven 200˚C/450˚F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Boil a pot of lightly salted water. Cook the daikon 5 minutes, the carrots 7 minutes, and the potatoes 10 minutes. Dunk the broccoli in the water for just 30 seconds or until they turn bright green.
Shock the vegetables in an ice bath to stop the cooking and set the color.
Drain the vegetables and pat dry. Put them in a large bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Put vegetables in a single layer on the tray. You may need 2 trays to do this. Roast vegetables in oven about 20-25 minutes or until they begin to brown.
This classic recipe is such a simple one-pan dinner. My addition of the citrus and herbs gives it a complex flavor that hardly needs anything more. The chicken is moist and juicy and the skin is crisp. The secret to crisp skin chicken is to make sure the skin is patted dry.
Chicken with Lime-Cilantro-Celery Rub Roasted with Garlic and Potatoes
prep time: 30 minutes
baking time: 50-60 minutes
1 x 4-5 lb whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry inside and out
1 lime, halved
zest of two small limes
2 medium onions, quartered
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Chinese celery, leaves and stems chopped
2 heads garlic, peeled
4 potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons melted butter
salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 350˚F.
Mince half of head garlic. Add the zest, cilantro, and celery. Mince fine and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the lime halves, one onion, and the remaining half a head of garlic. Truss the legs with kitchen string.
Loosen the breast skin and stuff between the skin and the breast with the garlic-lime-cilantro-celery mixture. Brush the skin with melted butter. Salt and pepper the chicken to taste.
Put the potatoes, remaining onion quarters, and the remaining head of garlic in the roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. With your hands, mix the vegetables with oil and seasoning. Clear a space in the center. Nest the prepared chicken in the middle of the vegetables.
Roast for 50-60 minutes or until the chicken registers 160˚F when tested with an instant read thermometer. Let rest 10 minutes then carve.
I love the taste of Chinese celery (Thai: kunchai) and cilantro (Thai: pakchee), all mixed up with scallion and garlic. The sharp clean taste of the Chinese celery and cilantro mixed with the sharpness of the scallion and garlic are irresistible combinations in this stew.
I like boneless chicken breast without skin, but Andy prefers the meatier parts of the chicken with the skin on and the bone in. So I combined the two and adjusted the cooking times accordingly since chicken meat with the bone in takes longer to cook. The chicken tenderloins must never be overcooked, so they must be browned separately and added to the stew almost at the last minute!
Chicken Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, and Chinese Herbs
8 chicken wingsticks
8 chicken tenderloins
Soy sauce to taste
Nam pla (fish sauce) to taste
Dried chopped garlic or shallots
1/4 cup chopped Chinese celery (stalks only, reserve the leaves for use as garnish, if desired)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped scallion
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 small to medium potatoes, peeled, halved, quartered
1 medium carrot, sliced into medallions then halved
5 baby onions, peeled and quartered
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup water
1 chicken boullion cube
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons coconut cooking oil
Marinate the chicken overnight or longer in the refrigerator, using soy sauce, nampla, black pepper, and dried garlic or shallots.
Heat two teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry the wing sticks until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. To the oil remaining in the pan, brown the chicken tenderloins. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions and toss to coat. Add the chopped herbs: Chinese celery, cilantro, scallion, and garlic. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Into a medium pot, scrape the vegetables. Add the chicken wingsticks. Salt and pepper to taste. Add wine, water, and boullion cube. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer 45 minutes. Add the reserved chicken tenderloins to the pot and allow to heat through, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over a bed of hot brown-and-red rice.