Monday, May 5, 2014

Garnish & Gather Spanish Chicken and Rice

The minutes slowly ticked by until the 3 o'clock pick up time for our Garnish & Gather delivery at Highland Wine and Crystal. We had received a personal reminder from the Garnish & Gather girls that morning although no reminder was necessary; we were already counting down the minutes. Resisting the urge to unpack the signature gray bag in the car, I impatiently read the meal card that said I would be cooking "Spanish Saffron Chicken with Rice and Local Chorizo."

At home, I unloaded our meal provisions which included a one pound package of frozen Heritage Farm boneless chicken thighs, a plump link of handmade chorizo from the Spotted Trotter, a container with roughly chopped onions and two squished cloves of garlic labelled “chicken starter,” fresh green peas, green Spanish olives, 2 bouillon cubes, a small bag of short-grain brown rice, a small container of saffron threads and a beautiful Meyer lemon. A small brown bag lay in the bottom of the bag which held a recipe card and a card with a conversation starter for the table. The frozen chicken thighs served as an ice pack to keep the other goodies in the bag cool during transport.

I thoroughly read the instructions ahead of time to understand how much time and effort was involved in preparing the meal. Because the preparation for the brown rice was a creamy risotto style, the instructions indicated that it would take about 40 minutes so I arranged my afternoon plans accordingly, leaving the chicken out to thaw in time to cook the meal.

Because the cooking instructions did not include a photograph of the finished dish, it occurred to me that I was not sure whether the chicken thighs should be chopped or left whole for this dish. I first visited the Garnish & Gather web site in hopes I would find a picture there. While I did not find a photo, I found some excellent advice on the G&G blog on how to sear meat which would come in handy for cooking the chicken when the time came. I also found that the G&G web site has a weekly update with wine pairings for each week’s menu items. With a little more surfing, I found several similar Spanish chicken preparations on our blog sites, all of which called for the chicken to be cut into bite sized pieces. And so I began to cook...

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 (4 oz.) link chorizo sausage
  • 1/4 cup Spanish olives, pitted
  • 3/4 cup fresh Spring peas
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)

In a medium pot, combine 2 cups water, one of the bouillon cubes, half the saffron threads, 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Add the rice to the boiling mixture and stir, and then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the rice is cooking, slice olives in halves or thirds and dice or crumble chorizo, and set aside. Since I was cutting the chicken into smaller pieces, I did that at this time as well to complete the mis en place. For the record, these were not the pale pink chicken thighs you might find in most grocery stores; these were deeply hued with little or no visible fat.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. The G&G recipe card recommends salting the oil before adding the chicken to the pan to prevent sticking. Cook the chicken for 3 - 4 minutes per side depending on thickness. (While the instructions called for the chorizo to be added with the broth, I prefer mine to caramelize a bit, so I added the chorizo to the pan and continued to cook to brown the sausage a bit.) Add in the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. When the garlic is fragrant and just starting to brown, add the white wine to the chicken scraping up any browned bits and cook another 3 - 4 minutes until all the liquid is evaporated. Next add 1 cup water, 1 bouillon cube, sliced olives, spring peas, remaining half of saffron threads, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

To plate the meal, place a scoop of the cooked rice on each individual serving plate and top with chicken mixture. Serve with a lemon wedge. G&G suggests that when feeding the kids, you might cook some chicken on the side and add in some peas, butter and Parmesan cheese along with a dollop of rice.

The final dish was quite similar to a deconstructed paella with a heavy influence of Spanish spices including very fragrant cumin from the chorizo and a wonderful bouquet of saffron. The olives added an earthy depth to the full rounded flavors while the spring peas added a tender “pop” to the otherwise creamy texture of the chicken and rice. The final spritz of lemon tied the whole meal together lending a tart brightness to the dish. The recommended crisp white wine paired well and accentuated the freshness of the meal.

Overall, this was a wonderful dining experience which took me outside my regular recipe rut. The ingredients were uber fresh and the instructions were easy to follow. My only recommendation to G&G might be to have a picture of the prepared dish available for less confident cooks to view before attempting the dish.

To order your meal provisions from Garnish & Gather, simply visit garnishandgather.com, and order a ready-to-took meal from the weekly menu by Wednesday night and get delivery the following Monday afternoon. Meals for two cost $35 and members save $5.00 each week.

While the menu items we sampled were complimentary, the opinions included herein are honest and unsolicited.


Yum

1 comment:

sp calvin said...

It is next coated that has a stratum involving oranges and rice at the top. Lastly, it is next covered to counteract just about any steam by avoiding.Like lightning rounds

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