Friday, November 13, 2009

Talking Chicken

"I grew up in Canton, Ohio." That's what the sticker says on this package of chicken thighs I bought at the local grocery store. The point is that the chicken is sort of local, and the company wants to market to people for whom buying local is an issue, but I prefer my food not talk to me in the first person no matter where it grew up. I wouldn't want a sticker on the package to say "I lived in a coop for nine months" or "I never knew my parents" or even "I had the brain the size of a pea, and my name was Rita." Simply, I do not want to hear from the actual chicken I am about to eat.

But, after I got over my distaste for the label, I cooked these thighs anyway. I followed a recipe from a Food Network cookbook for North African Chicken Stew.

It goes like this: (serves 4)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous
4 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
1 2/3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup Tunisian Pesto (recipe to follow)

Bring the 1 1/2 cups broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Stir in couscous and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside while you make the stew.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot. Season the chicken with a mixture of the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, onions, broth, vinegar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the pesto. Fluff the pesto and divide among four bowls. Ladle in stew and serve.

Tunisian Pesto
makes 1 cup

2 cups packed fresh cilantro, leaves and some stems
1 cup packed fresh parsley (leaves and some stems)
1/4 cup almonds
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse cilantro, parsley, almonds and garlic until coarsely chopped. With processor running, slowly pour in olive oil and process until fully incorporated. Add salt and serve immediately.


kyle@sift said...

Nine months? That talking chicken only lived six weeks before you turned her into dinner.

Scout said...

See, Kyle? What do I know? And I assume this was several chickens unless we've figured out how to raise a chicken with eight legs.

savannah said...

sounds delish! might try some of those spices on my roasting chicken tonight! xoxo

Shan said...

Once again I want to eat YOUR food instead of mine! :)

Jamey and I have always detested talking food commercials. We don't want to see the animal with a great personality bouncing around on the screen beckoning us to come and eat him. NO.

There's a funny Saturday Night Live commercial where a cartoon chicken is talking and telling us what happens to him in the process of being prepared for the audience to eat him. At the end he is a bloody dripping talking head that's tasting himself prepared and saying in a Goofy voice "HEY, I'm goood!"
It's hilarious because it is so true.

dive said...

Wowee! That sounds yummy, Robyn.
Local food is really good, but I always try to eat organic, too (not a problem here).
You REALLY don't want me to start on intensive chicken rearing; you'd never eat again.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I have printed this page so I can try the stew.

I agree with you. Chicken should be sold with recipes not resumes.

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