Saturday, February 16, 2013

Men - And the Chickens They Love

I'm always slightly surprised when I find a man who prefers chicken to beef.  Why, yes, I am being a sexist.  You say "chicken" to me and I visualize creamed chicken on toast points or a Chinese chicken salad.  Something ladylike.  "Beef"?  A man barbecuing over a fire next to a chuckwagon.  Thus when Trader Joe's frozen section offers boxes of chicken mini-tacos, I eye them with something akin to horror.   Trader Joe, too???

So it was with some surprise that I noted these men love chicken.  Richie's niece's father-in-law cooks a chicken breast every night for  dinner.  Personally I think this is more laziness than palate talking.  Chicken cooks up rapidly.  Sling a seasoned breast in a hot oven and 10 minutes later (+/-) you're at the table eating it.

The only time I've ever seen our friend "T" NOT eat chicken is at Havana Mania where he will sometimes order the pork sandwich.  Usually he goes with their Arroz Con Pollo.  I like to jokingly examine the area in front of his ears to see if he's grown gills yet.  So far, so good. 

Richie invariably orders Arroz Con Pollo at Las Brisas, our favorite Mexican place for the last 30 years.

Thus, when Richie ran across "365 Ways To Cook Chicken" at a library book sale, he bought it for "T" -- but he couldn't resist thumbing through it.  Incidentally, Richie makes a damned fine Chicken Cordon Bleu or a Chicken Kiev. 

He beamed when he came across this recipe and promptly made a very credible first time version.

ARROZ CON POLLO or Rice and Chicken
2 chicken breasts, sliced
2 T olive oil
1 teas. minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium-sized green bell pepper, cut in strips
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, cut in strips
1 cup raw rice
1/2 lb. cooked, smoked sausage, cut into -2 in pieces  (Might omit this - fat and salt)
1/4 teas. ground saffron
1 can 16-oz. whole tomatoes drained and cut up or two fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teas. dried oregano
1/4 teas. cayenne pepper
2 serrano chilies, thinly sliced or minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced

Brown the chicken in the oil and put it in a big casserole dish.
Add the onions, serrano and bell peppers to the skillet and ccook until they're soft.  Put this in the casserole dish.
Add the rice and sasage to the casserole dishy. 
Using the same skillet, put in the saffron, tomatoes, wine, oregano, cayenne and chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Be sure to scrape up those flavorful brown bits in your skillet. 
Pour this into the casserole and stir the rice around.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the whole thing for about 25 minutes. 
Stir in the peas and olives, let them heat up a bit and serve.

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