Friday, February 21, 2014

A Walk Towards Spring?

Summer, so far, spring so near; glimpses galore, like this and many more
But next week is winter
and last week drifted snow.
I needed some summer
With cooking, it might show.

A Take on a recipe for Curry-spiced Chicken and Quinoa tossed with Arugula. Instead of Quinoa I included Brown Rice and to mix up the usual Chicken and Rice, this recipe incorporated all of the vegetables in the refrigerator. Roasted Beets and Squash offer sweetness, sliced Mushrooms for Umami, carmelized Onions - because there are never enough - and sage sausage slices for that extra smoky punch. Tossed with arugula just prior to serving, topped with braised chicken thighs and you have a healthy, hearty winter dish. A good beer braise helps maintain chicken moistness and plenty of curry spices set off flavors galore! I mention this all because I took inspiration from NPR's Kitchen Window, a favorite of mine.

Without Further adieu, you, like I, have walked long enough to satisfy the hungry summer-tooth.

An Early Curry Chicken-Rice Salad

  • 1 Boneless Chicken thigh, trimmed (~1/2-3/4 lb)
  • 1 Sausage of choice
    • I certainly get a good many miles from my Field Roast
  • 1/2 cup Brown rice dry
    • cooked per direction
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • A handful of  hardy braising greens or celery tops
    • I find that Celery leaves and tops, trimmed, are a good flavorful, crunchy addition to braises especially. They're full of nutrients.
  • 1/2 small red or yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • A dash of salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp minced rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed thyme
  • Pepper to taste
  • A few ounces of wheat beer or vegetable stock

And for the Chicken...
  • 1 tsp Curry+1/2 tsp Paprika + Cumin, salt, whatever you like
Toss with
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • As much (or little, but more is better when roasted) Roasted Squash and Beets as you like!
  • 1 tbsp Curry powder, as spicy as you like
Preheat your oven to 325 and nestle the Chicken thigh with Sausage slices (about 10), dredged on both sides in the spice mixture, in a shallow pan or dish. Bake with liquid braise for about 30 minutes until done, but liquid remains. Set aside chicken and sausage and let them rest before slicing. Next, saute the garlic, onions, mushrooms, and greens with olive oil until aromatic, on low heat about 5 minutes. 
Add spices and continue to saute, add a splash of your chosen liquid and let simmer very briefly while adding the cooked rice. increase heat and stir to mix well. Reduce heat while slicing chicken into bite-sized pieces and adding these with sausage slices to rice, mix, and reduce to lowest heat.
Add Arugula and other vegetables, toss together with Curry.
Serve with a dash of curry to garnish and perhaps a dollop of good, soft, sweet chevre or cows-milk cheese.
Next time, less rice, more arugula. A nice few grapes atop pulls sweet, salty, spicy, umami into one.

So, what is the lesson for today? Rain and sleet, cold and snow: they come and go. This too shall pass, whatever this is. Just remember that when things are good as a full plate is quickly cleaned.

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