Saturday, 2 February 2013

South of the Border...

Here's a little menu I whipped up the other night for my dear wife and me...

Ay que linda es mi esposa... 

The main course I got from a great cookbook called The South American Table ... it's a Chilean dish called "Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro" (i.e., Chicken Breasts with Cilantro Sauce).  Cilantro is also known as Coriander in the U.K. and elsewhere.  Anyway this dish is super tasty.  

I'll let you buy the book for the details, but the gist of it is...

Put the chicken in some plastic wrap and pound it with a meat hammer; then marinate it with lemon, salt & pepper & stick it in the fridge for an hour.  Then dry the breasts with paper towels & fry 'em in oil, 3 mins per side.  Set aside.

Fry onions, scallions, garlic, oregano and cumin in a skillet for about 5 minutes.

Throw the veggies in a blender with some chicken stock and a bunch of cilantro.  Liquefy.

Then cook the breasts in the sauce for another 10 minutes until cooked through.  Toss in some chile powder, salt & pepper to taste.

I served that with some, as they say over here, "rice with bits," that I got out of the Rick Bayless book, "Mexico One Plate at a Time", which he calls "Arroz Mexicano a la Mexicana", i.e., Mexican Rice cooked the Mexican way.  He goes for some elaborate steps but it seems a fairly standard approach where you essentially fry the rice in oil, then set aside, then fry onions and garlic in the oil, then throw it all back in together and cover it with chicken stock, and cook it down.  The whole thing takes around 20 minutes.  I vary it by frying some bell pepper and fresh chiles with the onion & garlic.

Then, the piéce de resistance is the salad, which I learned from mi amigo querido Quique Cruz, who in addition to being a multi-talented musician / composer, is also a fantastic cook.  But as I recall he told me, like the pollo al cilantro above, this is a fairly typical Chilean dish.  What I love about it is that it's so incredibly simple.  I guess you'd call it "Ojas Romanas al Limón y Ajo en Aceite de Oliva" or something like that... i.e., "Romaine Leaves with Lemon Juice and Garlic Fried in Olive Oil".  Which is exactly that.  Wash leaves of Romaine Lettuce.  Chop some garlic and fry it in olive oil, until just brown and slightly crunchy.  Squeeze lemon juice on and pour the garlic with olive oil over eat.  Salt to taste.  Pop the leaves into your mouth, eating them with your hands like a snack.

Goes nicely with some Mexican beer!

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