Thursday, October 25 –
There was a point in time in this project that it was quite often just BestestFianceEver and BestieExtraordinaire and me. I missed it… a lot. Last night it was finally just the three of us over hot food, red wine, and juicy gossip. Could I have asked for more? Nope, I don’t think so.
This meal was just one pot and the rice cooker, with a bunch of dishes to hold the mise-en-place (mise-en-place being all of the little dishes that hold your cut-up veggies and meats before you’re ready to cook) as I set it all up. One eggplant, three small potatoes, one zucchini, six garlic cloves, one habanero, one lemon, four chicken breasts, one onion, and one shallot – that’s what I had chopped up. Yes, it’s a different ratio than what is below, but there were only three of us and there was still too much food left over.
Marinade first, with the shallot, garlic, coriander, vinegar, water, and spices. I couldn’t find “colombo spices” so I just added one teaspoon of each of the spices it says is in the combination, with the exception of ground rice. I used the full amount of garlic, coriander, and vinegar even though I cut the water and most of the veggies in half. Set that aside.
Onions, garlic, habanero, and oil were hot in the pan, cooking until they were softened. I left the seeds in because we are suckers for spicy food, especially on cold, fall days. In next went the chicken, but because I left the onion mixture in the pan the chicken cooked but didn’t get browned. Added next were the eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, lemon juice, the left-over marinade, and sprinkles of the herbs that make up herbes de provence. Then I added the coconut milk, and covered and cooked until the chicken was done, but the potatoes weren’t soft yet! So I had to continue to cook it, which dried the chicken out a little. It was still good to eat, it just wasn’t tender and juicy.
The sauce was spicy, but I felt like it needed more salt and pepper than I originally put in it. We drizzled a little of the remaining coconut milk on top to cool it down a little. Overall I’d give the dish a couple of stars, but it wasn’t terribly amazing.
BestieExtraordinaire brought wine and French Guiana’s typical dessert, mango sorbet. It was a perfect cap to a wonderful evening.
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.easy-french-food.com/french-guiana-recipes.html)
- 1 chicken cut up, or 8 pieces of chicken
- 1 shallot, peeled and chopped finely
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed – divided
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons colombo spices – divided (colombo contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, pepper, cloves, and rice)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 hot pepper, minced finely (more or less to your taste)
- 1 medium eggplant, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 medium zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (or 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, rosemary, and basil)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- salt and pepper
- rice to serve
- (mango sorbet for dessert)
Make a marinade by mixing the chopped shallot, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, ground coriander, vinegar, water, and 1 tablespoon of the colombo spices in a shallow dish. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and place in marinade, turning to coat thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
After the chicken has marinated (save the marinade), heat the oil in a large and sturdy pot on medium heat. Add the chopped onions, minced hot pepper, and 2 more cloves of crushed garlic. Cook until the onion starts to soften – about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is browned a bit on all sides – about 10 minutes. Add the cubed eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes, the lemon juice, the herbes de Provence (or substitute herbs), and the leftover marinade. Stir to combine well, cover and cook on low medium heat for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of colombo and stir to combine well. Cover and cook another 15 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is done as you like.
Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with rice.