Do you ever watch the cooking contests on Food Network and the likes? The ones conducted at fairs or at the bequest of a brand or product? I do and have always wondered what it’s like to participate in one. How many entries are against yours, is your idea unique or interesting enough. Do you have a legitimate chance, will anyone other than family and close friends enjoy or appreciate the recipe? I imagine these are but a few of the questions swimming around someone’s mind when participating in such a contest. I say that because those are the questions swimming around my mind today.
I’ve decided to enter a recipe contest! Saveur magazine has a contest for family recipes and so I’ve picked one and entered it. I don’t know what will be of it, if anything, but it is a good recipe. Family and friends have said so. I’m not sure it is unique, but I do know it is different. I’ve sent it on its cosmic way to see what impressions it causes on those not related to me.
This contest was weird in that they’re not tasting my cooking. I guess they’ll read the recipe and and determine whether or not it sounds appealing enough to recreate. If it does, it’ll be one of the finalists they will taste test. In any case, I’m sharing it here with you. Try it and let me know your thoughts. My mom would whip this up for us. Except for boiling the pasta, this is a one-pot dish. It is like chicken & rice, but using pasta instead of rice. The Caribbean flavor comes from coconut milk and curry powder.
Pasta con Pollo Caribe (Caribbean Chicken and Pasta)
4 lbs chicken thighs (10-12 on the bone with skin)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (1 tsp garlic puree)
1 tsp habanero paste or your choice of hot sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbs Italian seasoning
2 tbs Worcestershire
Combine these ingredients and allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes or longer if possible. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients:
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic or 2 cloves finely chopped
32 oz stewed tomatoes, chopped-liquid included
16 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 bay leaves, dry
4 tbs Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cp water
1-2 tbsp butter
1 lb linguini pasta (or your favorite type of pasta)
In a heavy-bottom saute pan, brown the thighs on both sides and set them aside. Because the chicken still has skin, I like to drop just a dab of vegetable oil onto the pan and spread it around with a napkin before putting the chicken in. As the chicken browns, you’ll begin to develop drippings at the bottom of the pan. Do your best to scrape these and save them; they will add lots of flavor as the chicken stews.
When you have browned all the chicken, check the fat that was rendered. You need about 2 tbsp left on the pan, remove any excess. Now add the onions and cook until they begin to get translucent. Add the garlic, 3 tbs of parsley and tomatoes and loosen the drippings. Add the coconut milk, curry powder, bay leaves, water and stir. Adjust the salt as necessary.
Make sure there aren’t any drippings stuck at the bottom, bring it to a boil before putting the chicken back in. Turn the chicken pieces to coat them with the sauce. Lower the temperature to a slow simmer and continue to cook the chicken for 40 minutes.
Once the meat separates from the bones, turn off the heat and allow the chicken pieces to cool down in the sauce. The flavors in the sauce will intensify overnight. If you have the time to begin this recipe the day before serving, I recommend preparing it up to this point, though it isn’t necessary.
Begin boiling the water to cook the pasta. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and put it back into the sauce. Keep the sauce and chicken warm, add the butter and stir until melted and well incorporated. You will have about 5 cps of sauce and chicken. Cook and drain the linguini, which should be cooked al dente. Add the pasta and remaining tablespoon of parsley to the sauce and mix well, and allowing them to cook a bit longer in the sauce, about 5 minutes. Serve!
Makes 8-10 servings