Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mustard chicken stew with barley risotto

Dinner today was unexpectedly easy and good. I was in the mood for a chicken in a pot, and this needed only a quick jaunt to the neighborhood Mexican grocer for some pollo (drumsticks was the only boned part they had). This recipe serves 2.

First, prepare the barley risotto. Finely cube 1 carrot and half a celery stick. Wash 1.5 cups pearl barley and half a cup of brown rice, add to the rice cooker, add carrot, celery, 1 bay leaf, a pinch of salt, 4 cups of water. Put the rice cooker on, and go out and buy the thing you've decided to cook. When the barley risotto is done, fluff it up, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a handful of chopped cilantro or parsley, and mix it up.

Next, make the mustard chicken stew. I have adapted Clotilde's recipe from her Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil into a casserole pot, add in a smashed clove of garlic when the oil is slightly heated. Remove garlic when it has flavored the oil. Place the 4 chicken drumsticks (or legs, adjust for portion) into the pot and brown on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper. After you've turned it the second side, put roughly chopped pieces of 1 side of bacon onto the chicken. After you've gotten a nice brown, almost crisp skin, remove the chicken, leaving the browning bacon. Add the onions and sautee with bacon. When they've become soft, add a splash of wine, about half or a third of a cup. I think a dry white should do it but I used what I had on hand - merlot. Let the wine bubble for a bit, then add 1 diced tomato. Stir, and return chicken to the pot. Add a teaspoon of dried thyme, cover, and put on medium. Stew for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken regularly.

When the chicken is cooked, add in 3 tablespoons of whole mustard (with seeds please! They turn up so nicely on the final presentation.). Cook, uncovered on medium high for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens enough to coat chicken. If your guests aren't here, you can keep it warm on low. Serve on barley risotto - the mustard blends into the sauce and is pretty subtle, so you don't have to worry it tasting like your last hot dog. So yummy!