Thursday, 12 March 2009

Tyler's Chicken and Coconut "Paella"

When is a paella not a paella?
This "paella" (quotes Tyler's) is a delicious and aromatic one pot meal that I made Thursday night after a long day of errands and chores on one of hubby's rare days off.
A little spring cleaning, more trips to the vet... more money for the vet....should I be worried that they now call me by my Visa number?
Worn out by the day, and the injustices of life, we wanted a beer. Or three.
Ok, we wanted dinner too. We were in the mood for something savoury and spicy and delicious. This amped up version of Tyler's Chicken and Coconut Paella hit the spot - and there is enough left over for lunches! What could be better than that?
Tyler refers to it as a paella because of the style of cooking it, not the flavourings. This is not a Spanish dish, it has Indian/Island flair.
I put my own spin on it, as I was in the mood for serious flavour. My changes are listed below.

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(Since posting this, I have had a lot of emails asking about my dogs being sick. Merlin the shih tzu is fine, Bella the pug suffers from epilepsy. She has been seizure-free for three weeks now with her increased medication, we hope they don't come back. Thanks for all of your care and concern for my baby.)



Chicken and Coconut "Paella" Tyler Florence, Tyler's Ultimate
1/4 cup coriander seeds
8 chicken thighs (I only had six on hand)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups basmati rice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Pea Salad - I didn't make this
1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
Small handful of fresh mint leaves
1 bunch watercress
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mint leaves, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 400f. Coarsely crack the coriander seeds. 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 over medium-high heat. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and give them a good sear for 3 to 4 minutes to develop a nice crust. Turn and cook for 3 to 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 to 4 minutes, until the onion is soft but not brown. Now you've got all this great flavour going on in the bottom of the pan - chicken drippings, ginger, onion, and bay. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute of two until the grains are well coated with the oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer. Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
  • When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint, and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve, take a big spoon and scoop out some rice and chicken onto each of 4 plates. Garnish each plate with the pea salad.
  • One of my favourite aspects of this meal was the coriander crust on the chicken, absolutely delicious - I will do that again and again.
My Changes
  • I loved the idea of this recipe, but I could tell by reading it that I would want to amp up the flavourings a bit. Dare I say...kick it up a notch?
  • I omitted the salad, deciding instead to add veggies to the pot, below.
  • I added 4 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 minced habenaros to the onion. I used more ginger and and a large onion as well, making the flavour base much stronger.
  • When I added the coconut milk, I also added a handful of unsweetened shredded coconut.
  • I omitted the salad on top, and just layered one chopped green pepper, half a pound of asparagus pieces and the one cup of peas on top of the rice. Then I nestled in the chicken and sprinkled on some whole almonds for crunch.
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