Coconut Chicken (or Tofu) & Rice

Posted: December 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Poultry, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Coconut Chicken & Rice

Tonight was one of those nights. I got home from work and asked Ed, “Have you thought about dinner yet?” “I would like to eat it.” “Yeah, me too.” Both of us were feeling pretty apathetic about the whole thing and neither of us had a clue what we wanted to eat. Being accustomed to eating out all the time, we have these nights pretty regularly now that we’re trying to cook at home more often.

I decided I would make something with chicken and rice, since we had both readily available. But what kind of chicken and rice? “Chicken and rice” sounds so utterly boring. I searched the internet and came up with a million recipes involving cream of mushroom soup. No thanks. Even if that was something I stocked my pantry with — and it’s not — Ed would never in a million years be able to eat it. Finally, I happened across this recipe — a breath of fresh air! I decided to spice it up a bit, leaving out the things I didn’t have (pimiento, saffron, green peppers) and adding a bunch of things I did (coconut milk, raisins, red peppers, and a bunch of spices). The result was hearty and delicious — salty, sweet, and subtly spicy: an updated version of the classic cream of mushroom soup recipes. Perfect fare for those freezing nights when all you want to do is eat some comfort food and curl up with a good book.

This dish is also dairy and gluten free, and can easily be made vegan by substituting cubes of tofu for the chicken. And did I mention it was incredibly easy to make? Just leave a bit of time for it to bake; it needs to be in the oven about an hour and a half.

Coconut Chicken & Rice

Yield: 4 large servings, plus extra rice
Time to cook: 1 1/2 hours, plus a few minutes of prep

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2-lb pieces of chicken (I used 2 bone-in thighs and two boneless skinless breasts) (replace with 1 pound of firm tofu, cut into 1cm cubes for vegan)
2 cups short grain brown rice
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 small cloves garlic, smashed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz frozen green peas (half of a 16-oz. package)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup raisins (I used thompson flame raisins)
1 13.5oz can of coconut milk
1 1/4 cups water (stock would be tasty too, I bet)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a cast-iron dutch oven (or similar heavy, oven-safe pan) over med-high and add olive oil. Sautee pepper and onion until onions are starting to get translucent and soft.
  2. Turn off the heat and add all other ingredients except chicken (or tofu). Stir well, till everything is mixed. The veggies will float but that’s okay.
  3. If using chicken, dunk chicken pieces into the mixture till submerged, then bring them back out and rest them on top of it (chicken will be submerged about halfway). Sprinkle a little more kosher salt over the tops of the chicken pieces. If using tofu, just mix the cubes of tofu in with the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and cook for 5 more minutes. That’s it!

Quick & “Dirty” Rice

Posted: June 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Let me preface this by saying: I am not from Louisiana. I have never even BEEN to Louisiana (though I’d like to go some day). The only time I’ve ever had dirty rice was at a crazy BBQ joint in Boston. I’d been briefly exposed to Cajun cooking several years ago when my friend Chrissy LeMaire over at RealCajunRecipes.com gave me tutorial when I was crashing at her house. From that, I knew that the foundation of many Cajun dishes is the indisputably delicious “Holy Trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery, sauteed slowly in some kind of fat. I saw that we had 2/3rds of the trinity, some some Aidells Cajun Style Andouille sausages, and rice, and was inspired to make us some dirty rice.

While RealCajunRecipes.com‘s Dirty Rice recipe looks amazing, it was a bit more involved than I was prepared for. Instead, I used this recipe at cdkitchen.com as a starting point. We lacked the bacon, pork, celery, green bell peppers, chicken livers, and chives. What we did have was a whole lot of bacon grease, the aforementioned Andouille sausages (surprisingly not very spicy), celery seed, and red and yellow peppers. I’m not the biggest fan of chicken liver anyway, so I wasn’t too broken up about missing that key piece of the puzzle. Following the recipe, my own taste buds, and my knowledge of cooking, I interpreted the recipe according to our available ingredients. The result? Delicious.

Quick & "Dirty" rice

Quick & “Dirty” Rice

Adapted from this recipe at cdkitchen.com

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon bacon grease
3 andouille sausages (I like Aidells), cut into coins and then in half again
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup rice (we had a combination of basmati and jasmine on hand)
2 cups chicken stock (homemade, if possible)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prep your veggies and sausages. Mix all spices together in a small bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat bacon grease. Cook sausage pieces until slightly browned. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add all spices and cook another 3 minutes, stirring. Stir in rice, cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and sausages. Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to simmer for 15-25 minutes, until rice is tender. (The original recipe said 10 minutes, but it took mine 25 minutes to get tender.)

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