Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grilled Chicken Paillard Tandoori (for your chutneys)

Now that you have some Watermelon Rind or other kind of Chutney, here's a really simple chicken recipe to go with it.

Paillard of Chicken Breasts Tandoori
Serves 4

This recipe is adapted from the Time-Life Foods of the World series, The Cooking of India. I find this series to turn out dishes with authentic flavors. I first had Tandoori Chicken at Moti Mahals in Old Delhi, and this marinade is remarkably similar. Our chickens are a lot different; I think they eat a lot more than the Indian ones.

A Paillard is a method of preparing meat that involves flattening it. This not only shortens the cooking times considerably, but also tenderizes the meat.

4 chicken breast, skinless and boneless
1/2 Tsp. Saffron threads
2 Tsp. Hot Water
8 oz. Plain Yogurt
1/4 Cup fresh Lime Juice
1 Large Garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1/4 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1/4 Tsp. Cayenne
1/4 Tsp. Red food coloring (optional)
1/4 Cup Butter or Ghee, melted*

To make the paillards, place the chicken breasts into a freezer bag, or lay them between two sheets of plastic wrap. Either use a meat mallet, or a rolling pin to flatten the chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4".

Soak saffron in hot water in a large bowl 5 minutes. Add yogurt, lime juice, garlic, salt, and spices. In India, red food coloring is often included; I leave this to your discretion.

Make a few shallow incisions in the paillards. This is to allow the marinade to penetrate. Put the chicken into the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more, turning occasionally.

Heat the grill; the paillards take just a 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with your chutney, rice pilaf, dal, and a salad.

I recommend a dry Gewerztraminer to go with this dish, lightly chilled, please. An Anderson Valley Handley vineyard would be perfect.

*To make Ghee (Indian clarified butter), heat 1/2 cup unsalted butter until it is boiling; reduce the heat to medium. A foam will appear and then disappear. The Ghee will be done when a 2nd foam forms on top of the butter, and the liquid turns golden. There will be brown solids in the bottom. Pour through cheesecloth into heatproof container. Store airfree; Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep for a month.

I recommend getting a copy of the out-of-print book: The Cooking of India: Foods of the World Time Life Series

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quick 'n Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread in a Pot

 Slow and Easy Bread in a Pot adapted from Jacques
   Pepin Cooking Show, Fast Food My Way

This is the easiest bread with a good crust and chewy crumb that I have ever made.  I had to invest in a new non-stick pot, but I have been pleased with the results of this recipe, so it's worth it.  This bread can also be made in a heavy non-stick bundt pan; you will get lots of crust.

I plan to try this method of with other Artisan bread recipes and also try substituting whole wheat flour for part of the white.

                                                                 1 3/4 cups tepid water
                                                                 2 tsp. yeast
                                                                 1 tsp. salt
                                                                 4 cups unbleached white flour

     Stir the water, yeast and salt together.  In a non-stick pot, oven-safe pot, combine  Water mixture and the flour and stir, stir, stir until the dough is stretchy and very moist.  Let the dough rise for 40-50 minutes and stir it down.  Now cover it, and let it rise in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight in the same pot.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F., and put the pot in the hot oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.  Let it sit and cool for a few minutes before turning it     out. Cool completely before slicing, if you can. 

You must have a non-stick pot with a good finish.  I first tried this with an older non-stick pot that has been abused over the years.  The bottom crust stuck fast; the second time I used a new non-stick pot, and it came out perfectly.  It was crusty and the crumb had nearly as good a texture as Artisan bread.  I think the moisture        content of the dough is the key to the Artisan texture--keep it moist.  Flour moisture content varies, so you can always add a little more.

Have fun and enjoy fresh bread the simple way.

Watermelon Rind Chutney

Watermelon Rind Chutney
Adapted from Gourmet July 2004

This recipe uses water which is unusual for chutney recipes, but the watermelon rind is denser than the soft fruit than I usually use. It simmers for a long time, so the water keeps it from the sugar from burning.

I made a few changes from the original recipe. I use distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar (that's what I have this AM.) I added 1 Tbsp. brown mustard seeds for visual interest, 1 tsp. ground turmeric for color and health, and I use crystallized ginger instead of fresh in all my recipes. The crystallized ginger adds a toothsome bite when slice into 1/2 x 1/4-inch pieces. I also added 1 cup of dark raisins; I like raisins.

Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 25 1/2 hr (includes chilling)

1 (8-lb) piece watermelon (flesh and rind)
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup sliced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons sliced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp. brown mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground Turmeric
1 cup dark raisins

(other optional ingredients include: 1 onion, coarsly chopper, 2 sticks cinnamon, or 1 jalapeno chile, minced)

Remove watermelon flesh from rind and reserve flesh for another use. Scrape off and discard any remaining pink flesh from rind, then cut rind crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips and remove green peel with a Y-shaped vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Discard green peel. Cut white rind into 1/2-inch cubes (you will have 5 to 6 cups). I find laying the watermelon rind on a chopping block with the green side facing away from me and slicing the peel off with a sharp paring knife the easiest. I don't mind a little of the pink flesh remaining on the rind either.

Bring rind and remaining ingredients to a boil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rind is tender and translucent and liquid is syrupy, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool chutney, uncovered, then chill in an airtight container 1 to 3 days to allow flavors to mellow.

Cooks' note: Chutney keeps, covered and chilled, 1 month.

We'll see how this turns out. When I want to preserve chutneys, I process the hot sauce in pint or half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

It turned out really awesome.  The watermelon rind keeps its shape and gives the chutney some "tooth"; most soft fruits turn to mush by the end of the cooking process.  I usually hold back a couple of cups for the end.  In India, they use a special variety of green mango.  Sometimes it can be found in Indian grocery stores; it makes a difference in Mango Chutney.

If you want to know more about the benefits of consuming your watermelon rind, check out this site: