Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken, Rice and Other Stuff.

Day One of utilizing recipes from The Family Meal- Home Cooking with Ferran Adria...   The hubbs is looking forward to this one because he loves Mexican/Spanish foods and this recipe is just the right blend of both.  We're going to start of with a simple, homemade guacamole, dinner will be a hearty Mexican-style chicken with rice, and dessert (oh lovely dessert!) will be an infused watermelon dish served with menthol candies.  Sound different?  Of course it is, that's the point!

*Guacamole with Tortilla Chips* (serving for two)
1 tbsp ripe tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 avocado
1 tbsp medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch salt
3 1/2 oz tortilla chips

Fill a saucepan with water, then bring to a boil.  Cut a cross into the underside of each tomato with a knife.  Fill a bowl with ice water.  Put tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to cool for about 2 minutes.  Once cooled, peel the skin off the tomatoes.  Use the tip of a knife to help if necessary.  Halve the tomatoes, scoop out the seeds, and cut the flesh into very fine strips.  Cut into dice. 

Pick the leaves off the cilantro stems and chop them finely.  Cut the avocado in half and remove the pits.  Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.  Mash the avocado using a whisk, fork or hand-held blender. 

Chop the onion finely.  Add the chopped tomato, onion, and cilantro to the avocados.  Pour in the lemon juice and stir.  Season with salt.  Serve guacamole with tortilla chips. 

*Mexican-style Chicken with rice*
2 chicken legs
2 1/2 cups water
1 pinch salt
5 sprigs cilantro
3 1/2 oz red mole paste
2 tsp sesame seeds

Place the chicken legs in a large pan, cover with water and add the salt.  Add the cilantro sprigs.  Bring to a boil and simmer the chicken for 45 minutes, adding more hot water, if necessary, to make sure the chicken is covered.  Remove chicken from the cooking water (reserving the liquid) and divide the legs into drumsticks and thighs.  Strong kitchen scissors or a cutting board and cleaver are best for this.  Transfer the chicken into a roasting pan.  Strain the liquid and set aside for use in the mole sauce and Mexican rice.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spoon the mole paste into a saucepan.  Stir over low heat until it begins to melt.  Add one-third of the reserved chicken liquid.  Boil for 15 minutes, until the sauce has a creamy consistency. 

Cover the chicken with the sauce and roast for 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and the chicken is very tender.  To check, insert the tip of a sharp knife into the chicken flesh.

Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat, stirring frequently.  Remove from pan as soon as they are ready.  Arrange the chicken on a serving dish.  Cover with the sauce, then sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds.  Serve with Mexican rice. 

*Mexican Rice*
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup small onions, roughly chopped
2 sprigs cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup paella rice
1/3 cup canned corn, drained
1 tbsp butter

Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile, use a hand-held blender to puree the onion and half of the cilantro into a smooth paste. 

Pour the oil into a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the rice and cook for one minute, stirring.  Add the onion and cilantro mixture to the rice and continue to fry gently for 2 minutes.  Pour in the hot stock and simmer the rice for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. 

Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining cilantro.  When the rice is nearly cooked (after about 17 minutes), add the drained corn.  When the time is up, turn off the heat.  Add the butter and stir until the rice has a creamy texture.  Add the chopped cilantro, season  with salt and pepper, and serve.

*Watermelon with Menthol Candies*
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
1 wedge of watermelon
4 hard menthol candies

Strain the lemon juice into a bowl and add the sugar.  Remove the skin and cut the watermelon flesh into cubes about 1 1/2 inches.  Transfer the melon and lemon syrup into a resealable bag or nonreactive bowl, then marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Put the candies between two sheets of parchment paper and crush with a rolling pin or other heavy utensil to make a fine powder.  Drain the watermelon pieces and arrange on serving dish.  You can serve it on crushed ice, if you like.  Serve the melon with crushed candies in a separate bowl for guests to sprinkle.

I must say, every one of these dishes was divine.  The guacamole turned out perfect- flavorful, ripe and fresh tasting.  The chicken with mole had the ideal combo of spice and sweetness to it, and with the added taste of the Mexican rice it was delicious.  The rice itself is so simple and will now be on my favorite foods list, with it's cilantro and onion bath.  I'd always thought it was difficult to make paella or risotto style rice, but it's painfully easy, I wish I'd tried it before now.  And the watermelon!  The watermelon with menthol candies is amazing!  It sounds like a really weird combo, but the menthol causes the lemon soaked melon to taste even more refreshing and cooler than it already does, we both loved it and I'm definitely serving it again during these hot months.

Overall, a great meal that both the hubbs and I enjoyed. 

Try it out!


1 comment:

  1. Would have never even thought of adding menthol candies to watermelon! Glad it was a success!