Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recipe- Mike's Birthday Dinner

 I actually stole this off where it was posted by chef Art Smith from Art and Soul from Washington, D.C.from Bon Apetite or something...  If you want to see it in it's true internet form go here.  I really just stole the idea, which I guess is how most people cook anyway- that's what cookbooks are for, stealing from.   Everything can be made in one day but the sauce is probably better made ahead, the chicken can be cooked ahead, and the slaw made earlier in the day.  The hoecakes must wait til the last minute.

Hoecakes, 'Barbecue' Chicken, and Tropical Slaw

The Chicken: (our chicken and eggs come from Angela, the social security collector for this region of the island.  She rolls around all day with her paperwork and flats of eggs and frozen chickens.  Not only is this a wonderful way to buy chicken, but they are also very good- bright yolks and yellow fat, the true sign of a free range hen)
Take a medium sized chicken and cut it up.  If you can get real chicken cut into pieces already then good for you.  If not, take the legs to use for this recipe, set the wings and breasts aside for something else and throw the carcass in a pot with some herbs, ready to boil for stock.  

Since I couldn't barbecue I rubbed the legs, skin on, down with some smoked paprika and salt, making sure to get under the skin.  Bake them at 375 for about thirty minutes (or til they are good and done, you should be able to pull the meat off the bone). Shred the chicken and set aside.

The Sauce:

The recipe is for a coffee- brown sugar sauce.  I thought that was a good idea so this is what I did...

-2 small onions (or one big), finely chopped
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-big pinch cumin seeds
-big pinch brown mustard seed
-big pinch paprika
-a few grates of local nutmeg
-1/4 of a scotch bonnet, minced
-1/2 cup brewed home roasted Dominican coffee (see How to Roast Coffee Like a Cowboy)
-1/4 cup dark brown sugar
-3-4 medium fresh tomatoes- skinned and chopped (or canned if you don't live in a tropical climate and are living off your larder)
-dark beer (if you have it), chicken broth, or water

Roast the mustard and cumin seeds in a dry pan til they brown and pop.  Remove them, add a touch of oil, and saute the garlic, onions, and hot pepper til the onions are good and soft.  Add the seeds, paprika (if you have chile powder use some of it- at home I make my own but down here I have to live off of the few spices I brought- excluding nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves), and nutmeg and cook for a few seconds.  Then add the coffee and sugar and stir til the sugar is dissolved.  (this would be a good time to add sorghum if I were in Tennessee).  Throw in the tomatoes and cook til they break down.  If you think you need more liquid add some beer, broth, or water.  After about 10-15 minutes taste for salt and seasoning.  Add whatever you think it needs.  Press through a food mill or blend it up and cook another 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

The Slaw:

-1 large head bok choi, or other chineese cabbage, thinly sliced
-2 small red sweet peppers, thinly sliced
-1/2 small green papaya, grated or sliced thin
-1/2 christophine (chayote), grated or sliced thin
-1 clove garlic, minced
-Juice of 1 lime
-Drizzle of local honey
-Salt (more than you think you need)

Mix everything together and let marinate at least thirty minutes, the longer the better.

The Hoecakes:

I followed the recipe exactly on this:
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted, plus additional for griddle
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
Mix that all together and fry about 1/4 batter in a lightely buttered skillet on both sides til brown- like pancakes kinda.  Keep them warm in a 300 degree oven as you cook them all.

To Finish:

Warm the chicken in enough sauce to make it nice and moist.  Put a dollop of chicken on each cake and some slaw on top of that.     Serve right away.

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