Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh hai there...

It's been a while. Sorry...

I have been eating, though. Different things, though, after I discovered that artificial sweeteners make my head explode. (Pink, blue, or yellow.) I haven't tempted fate now that I'm not on steady migraine meds, but I kind of want to. Anyway... let me tell you about something I've been using, and can't sing about enough.

I got a Le Chasseur dutch oven for Christmas.

Oh my. I actually want to have this DO's baby. Then I'd have saucepans, a grill pan,a nd all kinds of other stuff just for mating with a cast iron pot. I'd be down with that. I adore this pot. It gets hot, stays hot, and cleans up REALLY nicely. I've been making all kinds of things in the pot, from French Onion soup (and then remembering, "eh, I don't much care for FO soup"), to beef stew, to the little recipe I'm going to put on here- Latin Style Chicken and Rice.

Now, this may be the most caucasian version of Arroz Con Pollo ever, but it is SO good, and it can be done in a reasonable amount of time. (under 2 hours, if I'm not mistaken)

Cooks Illustrated "Arroz con Pollo"

6 cloves of garlic (minced)
Salt, Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 T white vinegar PLUS an additional 2T
4 split chicken breast, trimmed and cut in 1/2 (you can also do this with thighs. Trim the extra fat off, and know you'll need to cook them longer.)
2T oil
1 Medium onion, chopped fine
1 green pepper minced fine
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 cup (or more) minced cilantro
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 box chicken broth
3 cups medium grain rice
3/4 cup of chopped green olives
Lemon Wedges for serving.

I realize this looks like a lot of stuff- but believe me, it's worth it.

Mix the garlic, 1t salt, 1/2 t pepper, the oregano, and 1T vinegar into a paste. Coat the chicken with the paste and marinate 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 too...

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil till shimmering. Cook the onion, pepper and pepper flakes 4-8 minutes till softened. Add 2T cilantro, stir, and push veggies to the side. Add the chicken- skin side down- (you will need to increase the heat). Cook 4 minutes (thighs maybe a little less), flip, and cook 4 more minutes. Add broth (about 3 cups- reserve one for later), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. At this point, chicken breasts should be at 160. Thighs will hang out in the broth even after the rice goes in.

Breasts get removed to a waiting plate to be covered with foil. Thighs stay in. Add olives and salt to pot, stir, re-simmer, add rice, stir, simmer, cover, and pop into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Pull the pot out, stir it up, and take notice of the amount of water to crunchiness of rice. If it seems dry, add some of that reserved broth. Return to oven, bake another 10 minutes, and pull it out and stir. By this time, thighs should be 165, and can be pulled off to a plate. Check the rice- it's usually done by now too. If not, add more liquid if necessary and bake an extra 10 minutes.

Shred the chicken with spoons (large pieces is your target) and toss with a mixture of 2T vinegar, a tablespoonish of oil, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Serve it on top of the rice mixture and pass lemon wedges to serve.

Honestly, the chicken doesn't move me, but the rice? Holy heck, the rice is good. And I realize this is a fairly involved recipe- but it's going to feed 2 hungry people, PLUS give you a ton of leftovers for work. (My favorite kind of recipe.)

Next? My randomly assembled, way tasty beef soup. (Crock pot OR dutch oven).


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