Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Heart Rachael Ray

... well at least her Chipotle Cashew Chicken Recipe.

Some friends of mine in Kentucky are fans of Food Network (aren’t we all) and in particular, the princess of perkiness, Rachael Ray. We had been discussing a recipe which used Montreal seasoning. It’s something I hadn’t heard of before as we don’t have McCormicks in NZ and I was very curious about it. The recipe was for lamb or chicken patty pockets served with lemon rice and eggplant-chickpea curry

I have no excuse not to try the recipe because my friends gave me a giant jar of Montreal seasoning to bring home. Unfortunately eggplants are hard to find right now so it’ll have to go on my to make list. For those of you reading from a non-US country you can make your own version of Montreal seasoning with this recipe from The Secret Recipe Blog. I will have to try it before long because I have become completely addicted to Montreal seasoning and use it everywhere I can; on sauteed mushrooms, on oven roasted vegetables, in my bolognese sauce; it's great stuff. Watch for it in Lis and Kelly's Salad Stravaganza event soon.

When my husband and I were in Los Angeles we stayed at the Marriott in Torrance which but a hop step and a jump from Del Amo Fashion Centre. Del Amo used to be the biggest mall in America until it was eclipsed by The Mall of America in 1992. For all you trivia buffs out there here’s some about Del Amo…

  • The mall was the setting of an important scene in the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. In the movie a subtitle stated that the Del Amo Mall was the "largest indoor mall in the world".
    The movie Bad Santa co-starring John Ritter has most of its mall scenes filmed on the inside and outside of the mall.
  • The "International" food court was used in a scene from the 1982 movie Valley Girl, starring Nick Coppola, who later adopted the name Nicholas Cage.
  • The Comedy Central show Reno 911! has used Del Amo Mall for both interior and exterior shooting.

One afternoon we were working out in the hotel gym – him doing free weights and me – sitting on an recumbent cycle with my ear plugs in watching ...yep ...Food Network with Rachael Ray. I know it seems like a bit of a contradiction but in actual fact it worked really well because the show I was watching wasn’t finished by the time my workout was over so I stayed on the bike a little longer. Once of the ingredients in the recipe that was being demonstrated was…. wait for it….. Montreal seasoning. I knew I had to try it. And there was the sweet/savoury thing going on too which is always appealing to me. You can find the original recipe here

Chipotle Cashew Chicken with Brown Rice aka Park City Chicken
From Every Day with Rachael Ray
6 Servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, 1/4 finely chopped, 3/4 thinly sliced
2 cups brown rice
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds chicken meat (tenders; skinless, boneless breasts; skinless, boneless thighs), cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning blend by McCormick
2 to 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, such as tamari (eyeball it)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
10 to 12 water chestnuts, sliced or chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (available in the international foods aisle), or 1 1/2 tablespoons ground chipotle powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin (a palmful)
2 to 3 tablespoons honey (2 healthy drizzles)
1/4 to 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (eyeball it)
2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro or parsley leaves (a handful), chopped, your preference
1 cup raw cashews

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil (1 turn of the pan) and the butter
When the butter melts into the oil, add the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes, then add the rice and cook for 3 minutes more
Add the chicken stock and cover the pot
Raise the heat and bring the stock to a rapid boil
Once the stock boils, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes

While the rice cooks, make the chicken
Heat a large skillet over high heat
Season the chicken with the grill seasoning
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (2 turns of the pan) and then the chicken
Brown the chicken on both sides, season with the soy sauce, then move the chicken to 1 side of the pan
Add the sliced onion, garlic and bell pepper
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the water chestnuts and green peas, and mix the vegetables and chicken together
Add the chipotle chiles and cumin and toss to coat
Glaze the chicken mixture with the honey and maple syrup and turn off the heat
Add the chopped cilantro or parsley (whichever you prefer) and the cashews

Spoon the rice into bowls, top with the cashew chicken and serve
As Rachael would say Yum-o

Morven’s comments:
Other than halving the recipe I made it exactly as stated - well almost. I am not a fan of brown rice so I used white. I know it’s good for you with its extra fibre and all that good stuff but I just don’t care for it. My preferred rice is basmati which I choose because it is a low GI variety.
I wouldn’t bother with cooking the rice with butter and onions and stock because there is just so much flavour going on with the rest of the dish that rice may as well be plain.
For half the recipe I used two chipotle chillies which gave a nice mellow heat without burning your lips off.
Neither the honey, not the maple syrup were dominant but I'm sure they added to the complexity of the flavours.
I'm definitely making this again!


Deborah said...

I am also a Rachael Ray fan. This looks great!

Deb R said...

Y'know, as I was reading the recipe I wasn't sure it sounded so good (you know I'm not much for mixing my sweet and savory like you are...I like mine segregated :-) ) but that pic looks VERY Yum-O. I may have to reconsider. I could always Debbieize it if I thought it was too sweet. ;-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

RR may not be everybody's darling but she does have some really good recipes. This looks excellent.

Lis said...

I have to agree with Tanna.. although she's not my uhh cup o'tea (for any length longer than 5 minutes) I do agree she's got some great recipes. Now I'm all about the sweet and the savory so that draws me to this recipe.. and I've just recently discovered what it's like to cook with nuts (cashews even!) and am quite happy with the results (belly ache be damned!) so all around this looks like a fabulous dish! I was wondering when you'd get around to blogging about it. =)

Thanks for sharing the recipe, I'll definitely be trying it!!