Friday, February 24, 2012

Recipes: Chicken Prophesy with Cocoa Dirty Rice

The difference between heresy and prophecy is often one of sequence. Heresy often turns out to have been prophecy. – Hubert H. Humphrey 

A complete fabrication, the result of a mis-heard word.
I must be going deaf. I thought I had overheard a friend at work say “chicken prophesy” a few days ago. Of course there’s no such thing – unless you're into reading entrails…

Photo: Chiot's Run, Flickr ccl
I commented that it sounded like an interesting recipe. And as I do I started thinking about its ingredients. What would a “prophesy” entail? Well, it could be fire and brimstone, or obversely, something good. Two ingredients sprang to mind, jalapenos and cream.

A jalapeno cream sauce, as I discovered, is a marvellous thing. After some slight research I branched off into the unknown. I was determined to make those two ingredients into a cooking sauce. 

It really wasn’t that hard as it turned out. Some ingredients scream to go together. For example, jalapenos are Central American, so why not add cumin and lime to the mix – two common ingredients in that cuisine?

The end result is slightly hot, fragrant and yet smooth and rich. Just what a “prophesy” should be…

The jalapeno amount was just right, but their strength varies so start with 1-1/2 and go up from there. It can be added at the reduction stage if you feel you need to add more. If you add too much, bring it to the table with a smile and call it Chicken Apocalypse!

So that’s what I did. This recipe is a creation based on some mis-heard words in the office. And of course what better thing to serve as a side but dirty rice? The cocoa isn't such a strange ingredient. Think of mole sauce.

I received compliments on this cooking sauce. I’ll be making it again.

This is how the sauce starts – very light coloured.
Chicken Prophesy
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook: 25 min  |  Serves 4
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
3/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
1 lime, chopped rind and juice

Heat a dry frying pan or sauté pan. Place the chicken bone side down and fry until the chicken releases from the bottom of the pan. Fat will render out as it fries. Season with salt as it fries.

This is the sauce when finished. Reduced and darker coloured.
Turn the chicken skin side down and repeat. The chicken should be nearly cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Pour off all the fat except for about 1 tablespoon. Add the diced onion, jalapeno and garlic and sauté until the onions begin to soften. Then add the cumin and lime rind and cook for a further minute. Then sprinkle the flour over the top and cook for 1 minute more, stirring to mix well.

Add the chicken stock and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chicken back into the pot and let it finish cooking in the sauce, about 10-15 minutes. 

Stir often to ensure the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If the sauce gets too thick add a little more water. When ready it should easily coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving squeeze the lime juice into the pan and swirl to incorporate it into the sauce. Serve with cocoa dirty rice.

Lime adds much appreciated "brightness."
Photo: Smabs Sputzer, Flickr ccl
Cocoa Dirty Rice
Cook: 20 min  |  Serves 4
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato paste

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir well. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for 15 minutes undisturbed.

Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.


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