My fellow food blogger, Dom, posed the question. If you had 10 seconds to grab one cookbook, which one would it be? Quick! Don’t think too long. As much as I would have liked to say my newest cookbook, received as a gift from my friend, Jenny, (See exhibit A, below, thoroughly bookmarked with recipes I want to try.) I knew the only genuine choice is the book that comes in the suitcase with me when we move countries. My all-encompassing, knows-everything standby since the days before the internet and Skype, the 1980 edition of The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. You’ve heard me wax eloquent about it here and here. And I’ve used its recipes too many times to list all the links. It’s even made it into the Random Recipe Challenge once before, by default.
|Exhibit A - Need to bake so much|
This month the great book opened at a dish I’ve eaten many times in my lifetime, sometimes called by other names, like jambalaya or paella. Frankly, I don’t know what the difference is between arroz con pollo, jambalaya and paella, save the names. Chicken, sausage, rice. Other odds and ends like seafood and/or paprika and saffron but essentially the same main ingredients, right? And before a bunch of angry Spaniards flock here to leave shouty comments, (¡Bienvenidos!) my research reveals that I am correct. At least as regards, paella and arroz con pollo. I grew up with both jambalaya and arroz con pollo so I rest my case.
Anyhoo, on to the dish and the fulfillment of this month’s Random Recipe “grab and go” challenge.
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil
4- to 5-pound or 1.8 – 2.25kg roasting chicken
1 large onion
1 1/4 cups or 295ml water
14 oz or 400g can tomatoes
4 oz or 115g canned or jarred pimentos or sweet red peppers
2 1/3 oz or about 65g black Spanish olives
2 cups or 400g Basmati rice
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 chicken stock cubes
16 oz or about 550g smoked pork sausage
8 oz or about 225g frozen peas
Remove your peas from the freezer and set aside.
Cut the chicken up into manageable pieces. The usual is eight, but, if the breasts are large, as these are, I like to cut them in half as well.
Chop your onion, dice your pimentos and pit your olives. Slice the sausage into pieces. Big, small, it’s up to you.
Heat the olive oil and brown your chicken on both sides in your pot, a few pieces at a time. (Or use another enormous skillet to brown them all at the same time like I did. Sure, I have another pan to wash, but that takes less time than browning the chicken a few pieces at a time. Your call.) Set the chicken aside while you get on with the rest of the recipe.
Cook the onion until soft in the chicken drippings. At this point I transferred said drippings to the pot I would cook the arroz con pollo in to cook my onions.
Add in the rice and give it a good stir to coat with oil.
Add in the water, the tomatoes, pimentos, olives with all of their liquids along with the stock cubes, salt and pepper. Stir again to make sure the stock cubes have dissolved.
Turn the fire down to low and cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid. My lid has a little air hole for steam so I covered it first with some foil and then popped the lid on.
Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is almost fork tender and the rice is just about cooked. Test a few grains to see.
Add the thawed peas to the pot and cook for about 10 more minutes. Good Housekeeping suggests that if the mixture seems dry when you add the peas, you should put the lid back on. If it seems wet, you can cook with the lid off. I put the lid back on.
Serve with another light sprinkle of cayenne or the hot sauce of your choice. We used this one.
Once again, I've waited till the very last minute to post my Random Recipe, but if you'd like to join Dom's challenge in future months, follow this link to Belleau Kitchen.