Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken and Peas

I have to say, the weather has been quite strange. One day, it is so warm I think we skipped spring and hit summer, and the next it is chilly and raining! I'm  not complaining- I love the rain. I get this itch when the weather is overcast and it only goes away when I bake something. Today, in celebration of the dismal weather, I made some lovely orange-scented wedding cupcakes. I wanted to make banana bread, but I didn't quite have time. When the weather is like this I also love soups and stews and cassoulets and brewing a fresh pot of coffee at 2:30.
One dish that I really like on days like this I stumbled across in one of my favorite magazines. I often forget about it, then suddenly remember it when I see some lonely frozen peas in the freezer. Its a meal that comes together quickly, with a few ingredients, and gives you time to put together a salad and throw a dessert in the oven. Its perfect for days like this because it is homey, and comforting. It is simple and frank, a bit rustic in its own way. It was also an excuse to use my new dutch oven, even though I really didn't need it for this dish.
It takes about an hour, from start to finish, but a lot of that time it is just bubbling away on the stove, giving you time to sip your coffee and play tetris. Or whatever you do with your free time. I actually used the time to pipe obscene amounts of frosting onto my orange cupcakes.
This recipe calls for chicken thighs, which I suppose could be substituted for another part of a chicken, or pork or beef for that matter. I have been faithful to the thighs. With the skin on. Not what I usually do, but this dish turns out so good I don't want to change it. It also demands peas, which could be swapped for corn, or carrots, but I like peas. Especially in this dish. They are bright and sweet, and add something lovely to the chicken and rice.
An uncommon ingredient listed here is saffron. I happen to have some, so I always put it in. I read reviews by others that said they omitted it, and I suspect that would work out fine.
So, in essence, what I am telling you is feel free to experiment, to change things around, add what you like, and take away what you don't. The basic concept is delicious. But, I would try it this way first. You might decide to stick with it.

Chicken with Peas and Rice
serves 4

1 pound chicken thighs with skin and bone
2 tablespoons unsalted butter,
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white rice
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)

Pat chicken dry and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total). Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet (at least 2 inches deep) over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Cook onion and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, water, saffron, and bay leaf and bring to a full boil. Nestle chicken in rice, keeping as much rice around (rather than under) chicken as possible, and add juices from plate. Simmer, covered tightly with lid, over low heat until chicken is cooked through, rice is tender, and most of liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peas. Cover with the lid and let stand until all of liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts