Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Eat For A Week, Episode 2: Chicken Pelau

First off, I'd like to thank you all for your great feedback on my first episode, whether here, via other forums, or in person. It really means a lot!

This is a recipe for Chicken Pelau that I learned from my friend Federico. The dish comes from the island of Trinidad, is packed full of flavor, and is actually pretty healthy. Granted, I've edited it a bit to suit my taste, and I encourage you to do likewise. My grocery bill for this one was just over $17.


raw chicken drumsticks (about 10)
1 bunch green onions
1 large yellow onion
1 bunch fresh parsley (about 2 Cups)
1 bunch fresh chives (about 3 Tbsp)
1 head of garlic
1 jabanero (or habanero, if you prefer) pepper *
1 lb frozen peas and carrots
3 Tbsp white vinegar **
1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
2 Tbsp chicken boullion ***
2 Tbsp black pepper
3 Tsp dry ginger
1 Cup uncooked rice
1/4 Cup butter
1/3 Cup ketchup (or catsup... whatever)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt (to taste)


A large bowl
A huge pot


Finely chop onions (yellow and green), garlic, parsley, and jabanero.
In a large bowl, combine chopped ingredients with vinegar, cajun seasoning, boullion, black pepper and ginger.
Remove skin from the drumsticks, then chop the drumsticks in half. (If you don't want to deal with chopping through bone, you can leave them whole or opt to use boneless chicken meat.)
Rinse the chicken well to remove any stray bone shards.
Add chicken to the chopped stuff, mix, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Heat the large pot over medium-high heat.
Add about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil to the pot.
When oil is hot, add brown sugar and stir until i gets melty. (The sugar will not blend with the oil.)
If it smells like the sugar is starting to burn, remove pot from heat.
Add all the chicken and chopped stuff to the pot then return to heat.
The sugar will seize up a bit when you add the cold ingredients. That's okay, just keep stirring until it has melted again.
Once chicken looks less raw, add enough water to cover ingredients.
Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. (Reduce heat if it's boiling too rapidly.)

Add butter, catsup, and tomato paste, stir to combine.
Add uncooked rice.
Let simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep rice from burning onto the bottom of the pot.

Add about 1/2 cup of water and the frozen peas and carrots (no need to defrost, just dump 'em in frozen.) Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated. This could take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
Taste for seasoning - add salt if needed.


I'm afraid I haven't come up with anything too fancy for this one... Just put some in a bowl and microwave on high for a few minutes.


With a simple tweak, this actually becomes another dish. Just leave out the rice, add the peas and carrots earlier, and you've got Stew Chicken.

Music for this episode provided by The Hybiscus Journals.

* I'm a wuss when it comes to spicy stuff. If you want to use more peppers go right ahead, but I wouldn't suggest more than 3. Those puppies are HOT! And make sure you wash your hands REALLY well after handling them.
** Doesn't have to be white vinegar, it's just what Federico recommends.
*** If you're sensitive to MSG, you'll want to be sure to check the label on this stuff. Boullion frequently has MSG in it. If you're like me and this evil preservative/seasoning gives you a crippling migraine, you'll want to spend the extra money on the stuff without MSG.


Mik said...

cool man, great job! I liked how you use your music in this one.... I hope you'll keep using it in future episodes. =)

thorn said...

Thanks, Mik! Yeah, it occurred to me that I should try to include some music or something because, well, it's not like I've got a nice rack or something to keep people interested.

And of course, my music is... well... mine, which means I don't have to worry about having my ass sued for using it. So yes, you can expect more of it in future episodes.

Kali said...

excellent! Now I have a good pelau recipe! Thanks thom!

thorn said...

You're welcome, Kali! Acutally - and I should edit the post to say this as well - this one's a two-fer. Just leave out the rice, add the peas & carrots a bit earlier, and you've got Stew Chicken!