Tag Archives: rice

Summer, Meet Autumn: Squash-Pumpkin-Chicken Curry with Cilantro-Poblano Rice

20 Aug

Along with chipotle peppers, curry has become a staple flavor profile in ever-expanding repertoire.  From curried French toast to curried fried chicken and waffles, I’ve yet to meet a favorite dish that didn’t take well to my curry-fication.

Us Wisconsinites were spoiled this past week with a couple days of marvelous early-Autumn-like weather with just the tiniest chill in the air.  After the swampy, oppressively hot couple of weeks prior, it was a welcome respite and preview of my favorite but far-t00-short season in Wisconsin.  It also reminded me that I had a bunch of acorn squash and white pumpkin in my freezer, CSA leftovers that I used to make a delicious curried soup with crispy kale this past winter.  Longing for those comforting flavors, but not quite ready for a steaming bowl of soup, I decided to make a simple chicken curry incorporating my leftover winter bounty.  A refreshingly zippy pairing of cilantro and poblano pepper-infused rice helps this dish bridge the late-August gap between sweltering Summer and fair-weather Fall.

Sqush, Pumpkin, and Chicken Curry with Cilantro-Poblano Rice

Ingredient Rundown:

  • 3-4 Chicken thighs, deboned and cut into 1in x 1in pieces
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • Squash and/or pumpkin, roasted and mashed (I used leftover acorn squash and white pumpkin from a soup I made this winter, which I had frozen in some zip-top bags)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, julienned
  • 1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp tandoori seasoning
  • dash of ground chipotle powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

How I do it:

  • Prepare cilantro-poblano rice liquid by combining water, cilantro, half of the poblano pepper, pinch each of salt and curry powder and blend until smooth.
  • Prepare base sauce for curry by combining chicken stock, ~1 cup of squash/pumpkin mash, tomato, half of the onion, Indian spices, salt and pepper and blending until smooth.
  • Rub chicken thighs with mix of curry, garam masala, tandoori, pinch of salt and pepper.
  • In large saute pan (or your trusty cast iron skillet), heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the other half of the minced onion, poblano pepper and garlic for a minute or two until softened.
  • Add chicken and saute until browned, 5-8 minutes.
  • Add curried squash puree along with another half cup or so of the mashed squash/pumpkin to pan and cook, uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
  • Now would be a good time to start the rice – heat cilantro-poblano water until boiling, reduce heat, add rice and cook as directed.  For my jasmine rice, 20 minutes is about right.
  • Fluff rice with a fork and serve  aside squash-pumpkin-chicken curry.  Bask in the cross-seasonal glory.

Check out this post and other great foodie content from my friends at Forkful of News.

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Korea in a Hot Stone Bowl: Bibimbap

21 Jun

DSC05627

Working next to a Korean restaurant for most of the workweek, I have – for the past 8 months or so – been under the constant assault of fantastically pungent aromas courtesy of K-PeppersMy familiarity with Korean cuisine sorely lacking, one dish that always caught my eye – and tongue – is bibimbap.  Translated as “mixed rice”, bibimbap is an extremely simple and insanely popular dish throughout Korea.  Ingredients vary widely from region to region, as does preparation and serving.  By far the most interesting variation of the dish is dolsot (“stone pot”) bibimbap, which is served in a crackling hot stone bowl the acts to crisp the bottom of the rice and cook the egg right at your table.  It’s the Korean take on fajitas, really.  And who doesn’t love fajitas?  That sizzle!  How fun!

After diving in and making bibimbap for the first time at home, I felt compelled to finally head next door and see the authentic dish, prepared by some serious Korean chefs, Eric and Rachel Kim. How it took me 8 months to finally make there last weekend is a crime. 

KPeppers Bibimbap

Quite a spread, eh?  One of the coolest parts of the Korean meal are all of the banchan or small side dishes that come with the meal ranging from pungent kimchi to fried carrot pancakes and coleslaw.  The sizzling bowl was more than just a gimmick, creating a delicious crisp rice crust on the bottom and cooking the runny egg yolk just enough to make for a creamier mixed rice.  My first tango with fern brake and bellflower root was certainly a memorable one.  Don’t call me LeVar Burton and don’t take my word for it.  Go to K-Peppers and see for yourself.  Then go home and make it for yourself.  This is simple comfort food at its best and it is endlessly customizable to whatever you feel like or happen to have on hand.  It has a fried egg on it, people.  Enough said.

Bibimbap

Ingredient Rundown:

  • A variety of vegetables (my version, pictured above and absolutely by no means traditional contained spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.  More traditional ingredients include daikon, bellflower root, eggplant, zucchini and braken fern stems.  Shockingly I didn’t have most of those on-hand.)
  • 1 egg per serving
  • 1 cup of prepared rice per serving
  • Venison, beef, chicken, tuna or any other protein of your choice
  • hot sauce to taste (I made a paste of Sriracha, sesame oil and Szechwan chili sauce
  • sesame oil and minced garlic for sautéing vegetables and protein
  • salt to taste

DSC05621

How I do it:

  1. Sauté vegetables, seperately, in minced garlic, salt and sesame oil until cooked through. (I left the cabbage raw).  Set aside.
  2. Cook enough rice (I used white jasmine) for 1 cup per serving.
  3. Sauté protein in sesame oil (in my case, venison steak, marinated in rice wine, rice vinegar, ginger, and some leftover La Folie). Slice thin or into small pieces.
  4. Lightly fry an egg, sunny side up.
  5. To assemble, place rice in the bottom of a large, heated bowl and arrange the vegetables and protein in an interesting way.  Top with the fried egg and hot sauce to taste. 
  6. To eat, break the runny yolk and mix everything together.  It’s called mixed rice, so that’s what you do.  Pretty simple.  And delicious. 

Check out this post and plenty of other savory food-related nuggets over at Forkful of News!

Obsession: Three Cup Chicken

5 May

As I mentioned in my early piece on Natt Spil, their Three Cup Chicken (or San bei ji) is one of those dishes that worms its way into your head and demands being sated several times a year.  There’s nothing shy about this traditional South China/Taiwanese dish – obscene amounts of minced garlic and ginger, sesame oil, rice wine and soy sauce with a heavy-handed dose of fresh basil, paired with a spicy-sour salad of sliced cucumber and tomato.  Too much of a good thing means nothing in my book, so this dish is right in my wheelhouse.  And should be in yours.

Three Cup Chicken (San bei ji)

Ingredient Rundown:

Chicken:

  • Chicken thighs, de-boned and roughly chopped (3 healthy-sized thighs yielded 2 healthy-sized servings)
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 1/3 cup rice wine (I’ve used Dry White Sherry to fine results)
  • 1 large thumb-sized lobe of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Fresh basil chiffonade, to taste
  • 1 heaping tsp corn starch
  • 1 cup dry Jasmine rice

Pickled Cucumber/Tomato Salad

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into sticks
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • basil chiffonade, to taste
  • dash of garlic powder, powdered ginger
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime (or several small key limes in my case)
  • squirt of Sriracha
  • splash of soy sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

How I do it:

  1. Prepare pickled salad by marinating sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in rice vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, Sriracha, soy sauce, basil, and spices.  Gets better with time, but give it at least an hour or two.
  2. Add sesame oil to large skillet or cast iron frying pan and saute minced garlic and ginger over medium heat for 5-8 minutes
  3. Add chopped chicken thighs, seasoned with kosher salt and saute with garlic and ginger for about 10 minutes until lightly browned
  4. Prepare 1 cup of jasmine rice, as directed on package (in general the rice should take 20-25 minutes to cook, so now would be a good time to start it so it finishes with the chicken)
  5. Add rice wine, soy sauce, most of the basil and corn starch (I made a slurry by mixing corn starch with an equal amount of soy sauce – this prevents lumps and allows it to incorporate better to thicken sauce) and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by 80-90% and a thick sauce remains.
  6. Serve with jasmine rice and pickled salad.  Garnish liberally with more fresh basil.  Bask in its effervescence.  Life is good.

I enjoyed this batch of three cup chicken with some delicious La Playa Sauvignon Blanc 2009 that I just picked up at Barriques Wine and Spirits. I really enjoyed the previous vintage this fall and the fresh stuff really went well with this dish.  Heavily acidic with the first glass I sampled the night before, the wine really opened up with a night under its belt and the fresh notes of lime and ginger shined through, highlighting those aspects of the food nicely.  A pretty nice way to spend an 70 degree evening in early May, I must say.

Like the back of my hand: Mushroom Risotto w/ ’06 Anchor Old Foghorn

6 Oct

risotto and foghorn

Risotto has always been one of my favorite Italian dishes not only for its rich creamy texture and toothsome bite but for the wide range of flavors it can take on based on available ingredients.  It was also a dish that I assumed was out of my league to make for myself.  A little courage and a little research on my part rid me of my apprehensions and I have made several versions of this dish to date.  One of my favorites, both out at restaurants or in my own kitchen is mushroom risotto.  The savoriness and soft texture of the mushroom pairs perfectly with the creamy/al dente body of the risotto.  With a little practice and an attentive eye, the mystique of risotto can be dissolved even by an amateur like me.

Dish: Mushroom Risotto

Ingredient Rollcall:

  • 1 cup of  high-starch short-grain rice – arborio is the most easily available in the US at most grocery stores, though Carnaroli is more commonly used in Italy.
  • ~3 cups of stock – chicken is most common, though I used a 2:1 mix of chicken and beef stock for a richer flavor.  Vegetable stock could certainly be used to keep the dish vegetarian.
  • ~1 cup of wine – again, white wine is traditional, though I used a mix of red wine and dry sherry for color and depth of flavor
  • ~2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced (though I used green onion in a pinch)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • large handfull of mushrooms, medium dice (any variety will do, I happened to have plain old button on-hand)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

How I do it:

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute diced onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper until onions are translucent, ~5-7 minutes.
  3. Add rice to pan and saute until translucent around edges, another 5-7 minutes.  In general, you don’t want the onions browning, as the caramelization will overpower lighter risottos, but the richer nature of this recipe can handle a little Maillard.
  4. In 1/2 to 2/3 cup doses, add stock to the pan and stir often.  Do not add more stock until the previous dose is nearly absorbed.  The rice should start to develop a creamy “sauce” as you continue to cook off the starch from the rice. This should take another 15-20 minutes to cook through all the stock.
  5. When the final liquid addition is nearly absorbed, remove from the heat, and quickly stir in the butter and parmesan until fully melted. The resulting texture should be creamy, but not soupy.  The risotto should spread on the plate, but not leave a puddle of excess liquid.  The rice should be al dente, with a toothsome bite, not mushy.

The key to a good risotto is a watchful eye and active stirring hand.  The more you stir, the more starch will slough off the rice, lending to a creamier texture in the end.  In fact, many recipes omit the finishing butter and cheese altogether, with sufficiently creamy results.  This is another option for the health conscious.  If you happen to know any people like that.

rissoto-in-progress

Coating the rice in olive oil

Anchor Old Foghorn, first brewed in 1975, was the first modern bareleywine brewed in the reborn American craft industry.  Its elder status among its peers is well-deserved as its depth of flavor is rarely matched within the style.  This bottle has been sitting for over three years and has certainly matured with age.  Notes of dark, overripe fig, raisin and black cherries are highlighted by anise and caramel.  The dry-hopping has imparted a predominantly herbal character as time has passed.  The dark fruity esters in this strong ale served as a great complement to the mushrooms, red wine and beef stock in the risotto.

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