Thursday, September 4, 2008

Full Belly

Last night my wine goddess' restaurant blew a transformer and they had to shut down. An unexpected and rare night off together found us strolling the local co-op shelves looking for dinner. My bff (a fabulous cook, in her own right) inspired me with her suggestion of taking my one alcohol (TEQUILA!) and combining it with roast chicken, black beans and mango.

Last night we ate heartily.

Last night we ate well and wow, not one of those 26 ingredients played a part. Most food elimination diets inevitably end up dairy, wheat/gluten, and egg free as they are common ingredients people might have a problem with. If anyone out there is trying to figure out food allergies/sensitivities and you have a similar list of ingredients you need to avoid, try this for dinner.

Caribbean-style Chicken
with Coconut Black Beans,
Greens and Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4


1 pound Chicken Thighs, bone-in -- leave the skin on
Extra virgin olive oil -- as needed
½ tsp Coriander, ground
½ tsp Cumin Seed, ground
¼ tsp Cinnamon, Ground
Salt and Pepper to taste -- as needed
¼ cup Tequila -- divided
2 medium Sweet Potatoes -- peeled and cut into long, 1/2" by 1/2" rectangular fries
1 bunch Kale, Lacinato (my favorite) -- strip the leaves away from the stalks, discard stalks
1 can Black Beans -- drained, rinsed
1 ear Corn -- kernals cut off, corn "milk" scraped from cob with a spoon
1 bunch Cilantro -- chopped (cut the stems right along with the leaves)
1 tablespoon Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar -- or more to taste
1 can Coconut Milk
Limes -- as needed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil. Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat but leave some on the top (I'm trying to keep some meat on my own bones here, people). Mix about 1 tablespoon olive oil with the spices, salt and pepper and half of the tequila. But first, taste the tequila and make sure it is palatable. Taste again. Rub the tequila and spices all over the chicken pieces. In another bowl, mix the mango slices with the other part of the tequila, or pour some more if it's already gone. Add some salt to the mango. Set aside.

Line a second sheet pan with foil. Mix the sweet potato pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Open the oven door and throw in the tray of sweet potato fries and the tray of chicken. Roast the chicken until the skin becomes golden brown and the meat is cooked through (about 30 minutes). Halfway through the cooking time, add the mango pieces to the pan, all around the chicken. The fries should be done at the same time as the chicken; you want them to be golden brown in spots.

In a large pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped greens and saute for a few minutes until they wilt down. Add some salt and pepper. When wilted, add the black beans, corn and corn milk, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, and coconut milk. Stir and cook while the chicken and fries are in the oven. Season to taste with more vinegar, salt and pepper before serving.

This is best served in wide, shallow bowls to catch the coconut broth from the beans. Scoop the beans and greens into the center of the bowl. Top with a piece of chicken and some mango. Stack a bunch of sweet potato fries to the side of the chicken. Instruct your guests, your loved one or yourself to squeeze some lime wedges over the whole bowl. Eat heartily and note that you don't miss a damn thing.


gcg said...

wow - mouth-watering! sounds delicious - glad you enjoyed it. also: mighty congrats on the night off together!

Jesse said...

I find it interesting that corn did not also make it on your list. I'm certainly not an expert on this but my understanding was that corn is almost always found on these kinds of lists. After eating corn as part of almost every single processed food for the last twenty years (high fructose corn syrup) a lot of people develop allergies towards it. You however have escaped! Corn festival!
They don't make any corn booze - some whiskey but with yeast - but they do make ethanol. So you've got that going for you too!