Monday, October 25, 2010

Hello, Fall.

I think it’s safe to say that soon our crisp, cool mornings and sunny, warm afternoons will make way for long, dreary days of rain and more rain.  It’s the price we Oregonians pay for the spectacular Springs and early Falls that we have.

I honestly don’t mind the rain, mainly because it signals the return of one of mine and Offspring’s favorite dishes - risotto!

The making of risotto has become a mother-daughter bonding time for us.  While I run around the kitchen tossing ingredients into the pot and putting together other dishes, she stirs.  Sometimes the conversation focuses on serious matters.  Mostly we laugh and goof around.

This year we decided to usher in Fall with something a little different.  Something spicy.  Something… exotic.  We opted for Jerk Chicken and a Coconut Risotto.  It was definitely a hit.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

6 Spring onions
1 large ripe mango
2 Scotch bonnet (habeñero) peppers, seeded and chopped (use gloves!)
2 tbsp dark rum
1 tbsp Thyme, chopped
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg, grated
2 tsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp oil

4lbs chicken pieces (use your favorite chicken pieces, thigh and legs work great)

Place the ingredients for the jerk seasoning into a blender and blend to a thick paste. Pour marinate into a shallow baking dish or sealable plastic bag. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate in jerk seasoning for between 4 hours to overnight.

Roast chicken in 2 large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans in upper and lower thirds of a 400°F oven, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, 40 to 45 minutes total. Crisp under broiler if needed.

Coconut Risotto

1 can coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium in a carton
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1/2 stalk lemon grass
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, trimmed, washed, and sliced
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
½ cup sake
salt & pepper to taste

Combine the coconut milk, chicken stock, lemon grass and the piece of ginger in a pot. Bring to a simmer. Next, in a heavy bottomed skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the leeks and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes (medium heat). Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Continue to sauté for 1 minute and then deglaze with sake. Stir until sake evaporates. Begin to add the simmering liquid in 1/2 cup portions, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Continue until liquid is gone. Discard ginger and lemon grass from pot. Season rice with salt and pepper.

Garnish rice with chopped chives or cilantro. Serve immediately.

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