Arroz con Pollo

Well, not a traditional version., but close enough. A nice warm and filling casserole of spicy chicken and savory rice. Reheats beautifully for lunches and has enough depth of flavor that you don’t get bored eating it after a few days.

Ingredients:
1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
2 tea spoon red pepper flakes
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon pepper
6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on if you want)
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cups chicken stock (1 liter)
generous pinch of saffron threads
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 dried yunnan pepper
1/2 tea spoon cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cups rice
ingredients

***

1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, pepper flakes, minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag.
chicken1

3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage to coat the meat. Put in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, up to overnight.
chicken2

4. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, chop the onion and bell peppers.
veggies

5. Pour the chicken stock in a large pot and bring to just under a boil.
broth

6. Warm the oil in a large enamel cast iron pot (Dutch oven or French faitout). Retrieve the marinated chicken and add to pot in a single layer over medium to medium-high heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, just to get some color.
Don’t breathe in the fumes… vinegar and red pepper flames are hard on sinuses.
meat1

7. Flip and color the other side then set aside.
meat2

8. Your broth should be warm by now. Add the saffron, then turn the heat to low and allow to steep.
broth2

9. Drain excess fat from the pot (especially if you cooked your chicken with the skin on).
Add the vegetables to the pot. use the moisture from the onions to scrape up any tasty stuck bits. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until softened and the onions start turning translucent.
veggies2

10. Add the tomatoes.
tomato

11. Once the tomatoes are bubbling, add the ground cumin.
cumin

12. Add the rice.
rice

13. Stir the rice until it has absorbed the pan juices, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot.
rice2

14. Add the saffron broth, bay leaves and crumble in the yunnan pepper.
liquid

15. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a low simmer and cover.
liquid2

16. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then turn the heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
cooked

17. Portion out and enjoy!
portion

Chicken apricot tajine

A simple dish. I can see myself tinkering with it. I’ll write my notes as such in the steps. Not overly spicy but still flavorful and satisfying.

Ingredients
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup chicken broth
20 dried apricots
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
2-3″ of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pinch saffron
50g sliced almonds
salt and pepper
olive oil
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.

In a stainless steel skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken to sear on both sides.
sear chicken

2. Transfer to a tajine pot (or, if you don’t have one, a large enamel cast iron dutch oven, like I did). Add salt and pepper.
transfer chicken

3. In the skillet, add the onions and spices (except the saffron). Cook for a few minutes until the onions are starting to soften and the spices become fragrant, Scrape up as much of the stuck chicken bits as you can.
onions

4. Transfer the onions to the tajine pot. I added the ginger here because I had forgotten it, but for better results add it with the rest of the spices.
transfer onions

5. In the skillet, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, saffron and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and scrape up anything left at the bottom of the pan.
liquids

6. Pour over the chicken. Spread the onions a bit to make sure all the meat is covered. Cover the pot and put in the oven for 40 minutes.
transfer liquids

7. Add the dried apricots and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

* I would probably cut the apricot up a bit and add them a touch sooner to they become a bit softer and impart their flavor to the broth.
apricot

8. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. In the meantime, lightly toast the almond slices.
cooked

9. Serve with couscous and sprinkle the almonds on top.
serve

Fish Soup

A delicious and light soup. Any firm white fish would work, just make sure that you get something that stays firm as  it cooks..

Ingredients :
1 cup orange juice
2 cups fish stock
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1/2 fennel bulb
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 thaï chili
3-4 tomatoes
1 lb of monk fish
Zest of 1/2 orange
2 pinches of saffron
salt and pepper
olive oil
ingredients

***

1. First peel the tomatoes. Cut an “x” shape cut at the bottom of each tomato.
tomatoes1

2. Drop the cut tomato in boiling water for 30-40 seconds.
tomatoes2

3. Transfer the tomato into cold water. The peel should be tearing away from the flesh on it’s own.
tomatoes3

4. Remove the skin. Repeat for all tomatoes and set aside.
tomatoes4

5. Drop the fish stock in a pot and bring to a simmer then set aside.
stock

6. Deal with the fennel. Rinse any dirt from the outside.
fennel-1

7. Cut those antenna like growth. The fluffy green things are edible if you want to keep them.
fennel-2

8. Cut the bulb in half. Remove the outside leaves and the bitter core.
fennel-3

9. In a large soup pot, warm about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, finely diced and sweat for a few minutes.
onions

10. Finely dice the fennel.
fennel-4

11. Add the fennel to the onions and sweat for a few minutes.
add-fennel

12. Add the diced bell peppers to the onions and fennel and allow to cook down for about 2 minutes.
add-peppers

13. Peel and dice the potato. Skin and mince the garlic. Add to the pot.
Allow the potatoes to warm up with the other vegetables for a few minutes then deglaze with the orange juice. Allow the juice to reduce by 1/3.
deglaze

14. During that time, dice the tomatoes (they should have cooled down enough to handle)
chop-tomatoes

15. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir them in,
add-tomatoes

16. Add the orange zest and saffron. Cut the chili pepper open and drop that in as well.
add-aromatics

17.  Add the fish stock. Bring to a simmer,
add-stock

18.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are done (about 15-20 minutes). Fish out the bird’s eye chili. You can use the base as is or blend it down. I wanted something smooth so I blended it down.
simmered

19 .Retrieve the fish from the fridge. Remove any and all bones.
monkfish1

20. Cut the fish into bite sized cubes.
mnkfish2

21. Gently drop into the simmering soup. Poach the fish in the soup for about 10 minutes. When the fish is ready it will firm up. Serve warm. Eat with some crusty bread.
soup2

Lentil Soup

A staple of my lunches. I make a big batch of this and freeze it in individual portions, to bring to work. By the time noon roll around the soup is mostly unfrozen and ready to be re-heated.

This makes for a very thick, gruel like soup. If you like your soups less solid, add water.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 boxes of vegetable stock
1 1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup rice
1 pinch of saffron
slivered almonds, toasted

***

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, onion and pepper flakes.

2. Cook over medium-low heat for a while, until they begin to gain some color and have lost at least half of their original volume.

3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Spoon some of the boiling stock into a separate bowl and add the saffron to that bowl to infuse.

4. Add the lentils and rice and simmer until the rice is cooked. Then stir in the saffron infusion.

5. While the soup is simmering, put your slivered almonds in an oven safe dish (I use a cake mold).

6. Put in the oven at broil until just beginning to turn brown. Keep an eye on them, they burn really fast.

7. Serve the soup topped with the toasted almonds.