Posts tagged ‘aromatics’

Chicken, Greens, Rice

Menu:
Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt (Shahi Murgh) * Indian-Spiced Lentils with Kale

I chose this Madhur Jaffrey chicken recipe because it didn’t call for marinating, and because it would go with the kale, which M had requested be cooked with some kind of beans. Each recipe looked like it could be made in 45 minutes or less.

Shahi Murgh
1 c plain yogurt * 1 tsp salt * fresh ground black pepper * 1 tsp ground cumin * 1 tsp ground coriander * 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste * 1/4 c finely chopped fresh cilantro * 3-1/2 lb chicken, cut into serving portions * 1/4 c vegetable oil * 8 cardamom pods * 6 whole cloves * 2-inch stick of cinnamon * 3 bay leaves * 2-1/2 T blanched slivered almonds * 2-1/2 T golden raisins

Put yogurt into bowl. Beat lightly until smooth and creamy. Add 1/2 tsp salt, some black pepper, the ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne, and cilantro. Mix and set aside.

Using remaining salt, season chicken pieces on both sides and sprinkle on fresh ground black pepper.

Put oil in a wide, preferably nonstick pan, and set over med-high heat. When oil is hot, put in cardmom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Stir once and put in some chicken pieces, only as many as the pan will hold easily in a single layer. Brown on both sides and remove to a large bowl. Bronw all chicken this way; transfer to the bowl. Put almonds and raisins into the same hot oil. Stir quickly. The almonds should turn golden and the raisins should plump up, which will happen very fast. Now put chicken and accumulated juices back into pan; add seasoned yogurt, stir to mix, and bring to simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer gently 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time. Remove cover, turn heat up a bit, and reduce sauce until thick and it just clings to chicken. Turn chicken over gently as you do this.

Note: The large whole spices – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves – are not meant to be eaten.

What I changed:
I had about half that much chicken, boneless skinless breasts. It didn’t occur to me until mid-cooking that this was the case. The yogurt I used was non-fat, and I wonder whether this is why the sauce sort of evaporated in the first 10 minutes. That, or I cooked it too high. Instead of golden raisins, which I didn’t have, I used dried cranberries. Otherwise, I followed the recipe until the sauce evaporated into yogurt solids and oil… at that point, I whisked it, then gently whisked in some rice flour to make a slightly different sauce.

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Kale
1 c lentils, picked over and rinsed * 1 tsp salt * 1 lb kale, stemmed and chopped * 2 T unsalted butter * 1 tsp ground coriander * 1/2 tsp ground cumin * 1/2 tsp ground mustard * 1/4-1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes * 2 garlic cloves, minced * 2 tsp minced fresh ginger root

Bring lentils, 6 c water, and salt to boil in medium saucepan; boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat; simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 20-25 minutes. Add kale during last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 1 c cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add coriander, cumin, mustard, and hot red pepper flakes; saute to develop flavors, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger; saute until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and kale and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve.

What I changed:
I started by toasting mustard seeds in the dry pan before starting the lentils. I didn’t bother with draining; M likes what the old Southern cookbooks call “pot liquor.” I spaced out briefly and put in a minced 2-inch piece of ginger rather than 2 teaspoons. I didn’t mind, because I love it, but M gave it a definite “too much.” He’s right.

I made a quick pot of plain rice to provide a bed for the chicken.

Chef’s sustenance:
Another vodka-tonic (really, I need to stop and get some gin)

Chef’s soundtrack:
Foo Fighters, “Times Like These”
My Morning Jacket, “It Beats 4 U”
Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy”
Beck, “Tropicalia”
Pearl Jam, “Given to Fly”
Fleetwood Mac, “Big Love”
Kate Bush, “This Woman’s Work”
Kermit Ruffins, “Chicken and Dumplings”
R.E.M., “Driver 8”
Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham, “Your Baby”
Spoon, “Don’t Make Me a Target”
Roy Orbison, “Go! Go! Go!”
Duran Duran, “Ordinary World”
Depeche Mode, “Just Can’t Get Enough”
The Wallflowers, “Into the Mystic”
Kate Bush, “Oh to Be in Love”
Steve Earle and Reckless Kelly, “Paradise”
Marty Stuart, “This One’s Gonna Hurt You”
Squeeze, “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)”
Patty Loveless, “Sounds of Loneliness”
Sam Phillips, “I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye to You”

How did it turn out?
The chicken flavors were subtle. Maybe just a little too subtle, though I liked having hints rather than anything overwhelming. The kale itself was tough, though I chalk that up to the kale itself (fibrous, probably past its picking).

Would I make it again?
Maybe. Maybe not. I was a little underwhelmed. We’ll see if the flavors develop overnight.

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June 10, 2008 at 2:08 am Leave a comment


Some of my cookbooks

In no order except for how they appear in my LibraryThing cookbook catalog: True Women Cookbook: Original Antique Recipes, Photographs, & Family Folklore, Janice Woods Windle (1997) * Made in Texas; H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook (2005) * The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, Robb Walsh (2007) * The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins (1982) * In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan (2007) * Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, Daniel Boulud (2006) * Moosewood Cookbook : Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Mollie Katzen (1977) * Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans, Susan Spicer (2007) * Saveur Cooks Authentic American: By the Editors of Saveur Magazine, ed. Colman Andrews (1998)

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