I whipped up a meal this weekend that was good enough to inspire this blog. My wife reminded me three times to write down what I put in what, so I decided to share it here.
I call it “chicken and stuff on rice and stuff topped with fruit and stuff.” Here’s how it goes:
You start with the fruit and stuff, which is basically a chutney. Put all of the following into a large bowl. I used two nice ripe mangoes I chanced across at Wal-Mart, and a peach which wasn’t quite as ripe, but was still nice. Peel them and dice into chunks about the size of your finger nail. Don’t, and I can’t emphasize this strongly enough, dice your finger nail, and, if you do, don’t add it to the chutney. Next, add about half of a finely minced sweet onion. Go ahead and mince it all; we’ll need the rest later. Also toss in some minced hot pepper, how much is up to how hot you like it. Add several, 4 or 5, tomatillos, diced just a bit larger than the fruit. Add the juice, but not the seeds, of a lemon and a lime. Add a good strong dash of Tabasco sauce. Using a garlic press, squeeze out two or three cloves of garlic and a good hunk of peeled ginger root. Give this a fair drizzle of Balsamic vinegar, a shot of clear rum, and a table spoon of powdered sugar. You could also use brown sugar, but I was out 😦 You might also need more sugar, depending on how sweet your fruit is. Next, if you have it, add a shot of Grand Marnier. If you don’t keep fancy liqueur on hand, a shot of orange juice would probably do. Finish with salt, black pepper, 3 or 4 good shakes of ground cumin, a hit of ground nutmeg, and a shake of ground Cinnamon. Toss this really well and refrigerate, covered, for several hours, stirring occasionally.
Rice and stuff. For this I made a small dice of 1 medium green bell pepper and of 1 medium orange bell pepper. You take out all the seeds and ribs of course. Then, in a medium sized sauce pan, I sautéed the peppers and the rest of that minced onion in 3 table spoons of butter. I also added a good shake of crushed red pepper and a big heaping spoon of minced garlic, salt and black pepper. When all this is cooked pretty well, I tossed in a cup and a half of rice. This gets cooked for about a minute to get the rice all coated. Next I added the appropriate amount of liquid, which is listed on the rice package. Instead of water I used vegetable broth. Cook all this according to package directions. You can do this part a bit ahead, since it will stay nice and warm with the lid on for at least an hour.
Chicken and stuff. This is the fun part because you get to pan fry the chicken. For this dish I do believe that a not-stick skillet will be the best choice, since you don’t want the bacon to stick. Didn’t I mention bacon? Sorry, this starts with 3 or 4 strips of bacon, minced and fried in the skillet until you have crunchy bits and a nice pool of bacon fat. Strain the bacon out and put the grease back in the skillet. Next trim up 3 or 4 mid-sized boneless skinless chicken breasts. Then pound them a little so they are close to being evenly thick. Hit them with a little salt and pepper. Then put a cup or two of all purpose flour in a bowl. To the flour add salt, black pepper, and a nice amount of chili powder. Mix all that up. Put enough olive oil in another bowl to coat the chicken. Dip each chicken breast in the olive oil. Let the excess drain off. Flip it around in the seasoned flour until lightly coated. Discard the olive oil that is now all chicken contaminated. Add enough canola oil, or whatever oil you use for deep frying, so that the level will come up about half-way on the chicken. Heat that oil up pretty hot. Carefully add the chicken. Cook it 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. The flour coating should get nice and crispy. Take its temperature with one of those instant read thermometers. If it’s not 160 degrees F, cook it some more. Cover a plate with paper towels and put the chicken on it to rest for 5 minutes or so.
To assemble the dish: put a scoop of rice and stuff a little off center on a plate. Lean a piece of chicken on the rice. Put a few spoons of fruit and stuff on top and some around the sides. Drop some of the bacon bits over it all.
What I used:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 strips of bacon
1 hot pepper
1 medium sweet onion
1 green bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 cups all purpose flour
ground black pepper
4 or 5 tomatillos
Hope it comes out for you as good as it did for me.