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Monthly Mingle: Caribbean Chicken Fricassee, Maybe

By The Spiced Life
(2.00/5 - 1 vote)

Fricassee: (noun; plural "fricassees") meat or poultry cut into small pieces, stewed or fried and served in its own gravy.

Or so says Wikipedia.

At any rate, I guess what I made still qualifies, although in a moment of time change-induced fatigue and absentmindedness I left all of the stock (2-3 cups!) out of this. Ironically we decided we liked it better this way--the sauce was thick and intense.

As you all know I have been a little out of the loop lately, but when I saw the theme for this month's Monthly Mingle, Caribbean Cooking, I was immediately scrambling to find a recipe. I wish there were more events (or maybe I just miss them) celebrating the international foods I am interested in. At any rate, this one got me excited.

This fricassee--if it was a fricassee in the end--is outstanding. Bernstein says that people tend to get messy while eating this because they pick the bones clean and she was not kidding--my kids were a mess. Alex in particular went through 2 chicken legs, sucking them bone dry--pun intended, and was outraged when we would not let her have another, since I had planned for the meal to last 2 nights. The recipe called for one 3-4 lbs chicken cut into pieces, but I prefer to use breasts and legs since the legs are much easier for the kids to eat.

I served the fricassee with Caribbean rice and peas--made on the fly. I took extra aromatics from the prep work for the main dish (i.e., onion, garlic, ginger, sweet bell pepper), fried them in a little oil, added one can of coconut milk (I used light for this) and 1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans, brought it to a boil, added 2 cups of rinsed long grain rice and then added water to cover by 3/4 inch (maybe 1 cup about). I brought this to a boil, moved to my simmer burner, covered and simmered for 8 minutes. Then (I have gas and it gets too hot), I turned the burned on and off--2 minutes off, 3 minutes on--for another 12 minutes for a total of 20 minutes simmering and steaming. This is a great method, by the way, if you have trouble with your gas burner scorching rice; it is my regular method for jasmine rice.

Caribbean Chicken Fricassee
Adapted from Cuisine A Latina, Michelle Bernstein

1/4 cup olive oil
1 3-4 lbs chicken, cut into parts (or 3-4 lbs of your preferred parts)
salt, pepper, allspice, cayenne pepper--pinch of each
1 cup AP flour
1 large onions, finely chopped
1 large sweet bell pepper, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 jalapeno with seeds OR 2 jalapenos, seeds and membranes scraped out and each split in half (for jalapeno flavor with less heat)
1/4 t allspice
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock--optional and I did not use
3 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T soy sauce
2 T ketchup
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 T chopped cilantro
1 T chopped flat leaf parsley
1 t chopped fresh thyme
dark brown sugar to taste

Whisk the pinches of salt, pepper, allspice and cayenne pepper into the flour. Dry the chicken pieces and then dredge them in the seasoned flour. Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Pour the olive oil in and heat it to shimmering. Fry the floured chicken, 2-3 pieces at a time, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate. When you are done, pour off about half of the oil.

Add the onions, peppers and garlic to the pot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, jalapeno and allspice and cook another minute or 2. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid by half. Add the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and ketchup (and stock if using) and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and cover tightly. Reduce to low heat and maintain a simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (40 minutes for me).

Stir in the scallions and fresh herbs. Add dark brown sugar to taste--I used 1 tablespoon.

Serve with Caribbean rice and peas (see above) in shallow bowls.

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