Tonight is Shabbat! On Shabbat, all mourning is completely suspended, and we rejoice in the gift of rest. We are allowed our meat and our wine, and we are supposed to forget about sadness for the entire day.
I chose to pull something out of the freezer <gasp>. It’s one of my favorite recipes, from Tyler Florence‘s Tyler’s Ultimate. It’s a spin on paella, which we normally can’t eat, because it’s filled with nasty shellfish. This one is chicken-based, and I love the way the chicken juices and coconut milk bind around the rice and make it creamy. Brown rice is not normally creamy.
Speaking of which, though, I’ll admit that the original recipe is not for brown rice. It uses two cups of regular ol’ white basmati. My mom cleverly figured out how to use brown, instead, and that is how we’ve made it ever since.
Chicken & Coconut “Paella”
1/4 cup coriander seeds
8 chicken thighs (or however many fit in your pot)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
1″ fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups brown rice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coarsely crack the coriander seeds in one of three ways: pulse in a spice grinder, wrap the seeds in a tea towel and crush with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pan, or grind in a pepper grinder on the coarse setting. Season the thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander. Heat a 3-count of olive oil in a large, deep, ovenproof skillet [I use my awesome Le Creuset] over medium-high heat. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and give them a good sear for 3-4 minutes to develop a nice crust. Turn and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.
Hit the pan with another tablespoon of olive oil and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is soft but not colored. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two until the grains are well-coated with oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer. Tuck in the chicken thighs, cover, and put the whole thing in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake 30 more minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.
P.S. – this is a really good cookbook. After watching Julie & Julia, my sister and I bought this cookbook to cook through cover-to-cover. As an aside, that doesn’t work well when you eat gluten-free and kosher. But anyway, there were many recipes in here that we loved and our family got to enjoy. We found the book to be so useful and so full of great recipes, our mom actually commandeered our copy, and we ended up giving it to her as kind of a farewell present when we each got married. It’s really that good.