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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken with Cilantro and Spinach Rice

 I knew as soon as the words came out of my mouth " I don't know just how productive I might be tonight..."

Silly me,I knew... I just knew I would have to tell you about this chicken dish we made last night.We heated up the leftovers. I took one bite and I thought I might just should tell you about the leftovers before I become fairly unproductive.

     Over at iheartcookingclubs we have taken fondly to Tess Kiros and all of her international flair.I started this group cooking along with Giada de Laurentiis,then we moved on to Jamie Oliver and now Tessa Kiros. Two things have amazed me in the last year,cooking through all of the different recipes: 1. I love cooking,reading cookbooks and telling you the reader about all of the amazing recipes that have come my way. 2. It's aint' so bad being pushed a little out of your comfort zone. Learning new techniques,ingredients and cuisines is a good thang.

Enough said.

     Really cilantro and spinach and chicken and rice... I wouldn't have thunk for a second,but after one bite of this food made for some good eatin'. Tessa Kiros told us in the intro to this recipe that this dsih was similar to Peruvian pilaf. (Hello? comfort zone,you there?) You brown the chicken in a large heavy-bottomed pan,until it's crispy and golden and almost cooked. I think this part of the recipe makes the whole dish. Oh gosh it's good,chicken fat is a perfect foundation for the flavors in the rice. It mellows the cilantro. The carrot and pepper pieces are sweetened by the cilantro. And oh gosh the icing on the cake: spiced yogurt. ( Greek yogurt laced with cumin,salt,fresh ground black pepper and olive oil. Dang.)

   I wish you could have seen the green color in my food processor,gorgeous. And the smell was amazing,the cilantro and spinach was so fresh. It was heaven. A thought " If this smell is going to move through out a plate full of rice,sign me up for two plates.Yes please!"
    So you brown the chicken,remove it to a plate and soften your vegetable mixture in the chicken goodness. She mentions to "discard the oil from the pan" I didn't know if that included the chicken goodness left in the bottom of the pan,so hooray for adaptation! The chicken fat,crusty pieces of chicken skin and all of the flavors in the bottom of that pan made this dish sing. I could go on...
  Standing in the middle of Kroger,I had no clue what "short-grain rice" was. NOT A CLUE. And yes I could have whipped out my fancy phone with it's semi-fast internet service and googled "short-grain rice" but  I saw medium-grain rice!!!! I'll take me a bag of that and hit the road.Thank you very much.
    This recipe makes a lot. It called for a 3-lb whole chicken,we used 4 chicken drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs.The recipe also calls for a little over two cups of rice,folks THAT IS A LOT OF RICE,but I guarantee once you taste it you will soon be a member of the clean plate club.
****Oh !!! and because I want to,let's have a giveaway! The shelves in my laundry room are filling up with all of this season's canning fun,so I want to give away a jar of Red & Green Pepper Jelly. Comment on this post and tell me about a recipe or cooking technique,recipe or ingredient that has pushed you a little out of your comfort zone. Comments for the giveaway will close Sundayday,October 9th at midnight. Yay free pepper jelly!****

Chicken with Cilantro and Spinach Rice
adapted from Tessa Kiros
recipe read on page 353 of Falling Cloudberries
2/3 c olive oil,divided
4 chicken thighs,skin-on/bone in
4 chicken drumsticks,skin-on/bone-in
1 small bunch cilantro
2 c firmly packed spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves,minced
2 carrots,diced
1/2 red bell pepper,seeded and diced
1/3 c fresh or frozen peas
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 1/4 c short-grain rice ( I used medium-grain.)
 Spiced Yogurt:
1 c plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp olive oil
1.Heat half of the olive oil in a large,heavy-bottomed pan and brown the chicken until it is brown and crispy on each side and just about cooked all the way through.Remove from the heat and wipe the oil from the pan.
2.Break off the leaves of the cilantro from the bunch and add the to the bowl of a food processor along with the spinach and 1/2 c of water.Puree until smooth.
3.Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan you cooked the chicken in and add the garlic.Cook the garlic for 30 seconds, add the carrot,pepper and peas.Saute for 5 minutes,then add the cayenne and paprika,mix well.Add the cilantro/spinach puree,cook for 2 minutes.Add the chicken back in and season with salt and pepper.Saute for 2 minutes and then add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover,decrease the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
4.Remove the chicken back to the same plate and add the rice together with 2 cups of hot water.Cook,uncovered for 5-10 minutes,or until the rice seems to have absorbed most of the water.Decrease the heat to an absolute minimum and cook for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked.Stir only a few times to make sure the rice isn't sticking.
5.Spiced Yogurt: Stir the yogurt,cumin and olive oil.Season with salt and pepper.
6.Serve the rice onto a large platter,arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice. Serve the spiced yogurt in a separate bowl in the side.


  1. This sounds like a wonderful recipe...and your post was entertaining and educational! Thanks for the review, I have this bookmarked to try soon, subbing parsley for cilantro as I am one of those people whose taste buds think cilantro is soap. Sigh. There are any number of us, so not sure what is up with that...the rest of the recipe is good to go, including the short grained rice! I think this next six months with Tessa is going to be just wonderful.

  2. Hooray for stepping out of your comfort zone! Sounds absolutely delicious. Great flavours.

  3. Yum, this does sound amazing! I love the sound of all the flavors in this dish...and yup, that's something I love about IHCC...exploration!! :D

  4. Such a fun and savory dish with the beautiful spiced yogurt on top. I love it!

    Yes, I do love going outside of my comfort zone too. Most of the time this involves fish, in one form or another, for me.

  5. This looks like such a delicious dish--I am a big cilantro fan. Glad your comfort zone is expanding!

  6. Funny thing - I just happened to pick up free-range chicken drumsticks, cilantro, spinach, carrots and peppers at the market on the weekend - seems like this recipe was just make for me!
    Sue xo