STREET CART-STYLE CHICKEN AND RICE

Austin American-Statesman - - THE PLANNER -

Deb Perel­man’s new book, “Smit­ten Kitchen Ev­ery Day: Tri­umphant and Un­fussy New Fa­vorites” (Knopf, $35), was at the top of a stack of books I brought home from work when I started this #30atHome chal­lenge. I spent New Year’s Day mak­ing a rough guessti­mate of what I wanted to make that week and the fol­low­ing. I made this street cart-style chicken and rice right away, but the Marsala meat­balls kept get­ting pushed back. Be­cause of the sticky notes I was us­ing, I could sim­ply push the dish to another week rather than for­get about it al­to­gether.

I fol­lowed Perel­man’s mari­nade recipe closely but used a few short­cuts in the rest of the dish, such as a bag of Dole coleslaw salad and a less-cumin-y rice cooked with a (new-to-me) Trader Joe’s turmeric ghee. In­stead of mak­ing a yo­gurt sauce, I thinned out a store-bought tzatziki with a lit­tle White Moun­tain Bul­gar­ian yo­gurt. Two slices of Trader Joe’s naan later, and we had the very best homemade din­ner I’ve pre­pared in a while. For the mari­nade: Juice of 1 lemon 2 gar­lic cloves, minced 1 tea­spoon kosher salt 1 tea­spoon pa­prika (sweet, hot or smoked) 3/4 tea­spoon ground

co­rian­der 1 1/2 tea­spoons ground

cumin Pinch of ground cloves 1 tea­spoon oregano 2 pounds (about 6) bone­less, skin­less chicken thighs 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil For the rice: 1 tea­spoon olive oil 1/4 tea­spoon turmeric 1/4 tea­spoon ground

cumin 1 cup bas­mati or another long-grain white rice 1 1/2 cups wa­ter 1/2 tea­spoon salt

Com­bine lemon juice, gar­lic, salt and spices for the mari­nade in a large plas­tic zip­top bag. Squeeze the plas­tic to com­bine, and then add the chicken thighs. Squish the bag so the spice and olive oil mix­ture coats the meat. Re­frig­er­ate and mar­i­nate for 30 min­utes or up to two days.

When ready to cook, heat a heavy-bot­tom skil­let over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of oil and cook three thighs at a time, let­ting the chicken brown for about 5 min­utes be­fore flip­ping. Cook on the other side for another 5 to 8 min­utes. Re­move the first batch of chicken from the pan and re­peat with re­main­ing chicken. Wipe out the pan.

Slice all the chicken into long strips and add back to the pan to fin­ish cook­ing. Mean­time, heat the olive oil for the rice in a medium saucepan. Add the spices and rice, stir­ring to coat. (I used a tea­spoon of Trader Joe’s turmeric ghee and 1/4 tea­spoon cumin.)

Cook for about 3 min­utes, and then add the wa­ter and salt. Bring to a boil, re­duce heat to sim­mer, cover and cook on low for 15 min­utes.

Serve chicken and rice with naan and a salad, topped with any yo­gurt sauce of your lik­ing, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

This street cart-style chicken and rice is from Deb Perel­man’s “Smit­ten Kitchen Ev­ery Day.”

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