This week I was delighted to return to my favorite spice shop, Savory Spice in the Atherton Mill, South Charlotte, to present another cooking demonstration. I am a huge fan of this store, a visit there to explore, smell and taste the spices never fails to inspire me, so I was delighted when Amy and Scott contacted me to try out their new Latin inspired spice blends!
Good Fats – Bad Fats
Sharing my philosophy that food should taste fabulous and be healing too, the topic for the evening was ‘Good Fats vs Bad Fats’. Perhaps the most misunderstood key foundation, good fats are indeed essential to good health, and bad fats extremely damaging. We covered key essential fats and their role in optimal wellness; which fats are best to cook with, which are best consumed raw and some which should simply never be consumed, more detail is covered in my previous blog post:
A tribute to the First Lady of Fat
Coincidently this week as I was preparing this presentation, I was saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dr Mary G. Enig , I call her the First Lady of Fat’ as she was truly the pioneer in revealing the truth about fats, that butter is better and fats can be healing!
Inspired by the fabulous new spices at Savory Spice Store, and with Fall arriving, I created an appetizer menu with a Caribbean Latin theme. I will be sharing all the recipes in a series of blog posts; the first recipe is actually two recipes in one, I created a hugely popular main entrée recipe, which is repurposed to be used as the topping for the appetizer, with plantain Tostones.
Free Gift for You!
Scott and Amy have graciously offered a free 2 oz bottle of spice with purchase to anyone visiting the store, simply mention ‘free sample, Taste of Healing’!
Stay tuned for more recipes to follow on the blog, and enjoy!Print
Cuban Island Spiced Chicken with Black Beans & Rice
¼ cup fresh Lime Juice
Zest of two Limes
½ cup Cilantro stems, finely diced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Cuban Island Spice (Savory Spice Shop)
8 Chicken legs, bone in
Combine all marinade ingredients, coat chicken well, cover and refrigerate two hours, up to six.
1 cup Brown Rice
2 cups finely diced Yellow Onion
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Tomato, pureed
5 cups Chicken Broth
½ cup White Wine
2 cups Black Beans, cooked
Salt to taste
Olive oil for cooking
½ cup Cilantro, coarsely diced, to serve
Preheat oven to 350 F
Place chicken skin side up in a large casserole dish and place in the oven.
While chicken is beginning to cook, prepare the rice:
Heat a medium dutch oven over medium heat, add a little olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until caramelized, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits.
Add the rice, tomato, broth and white wine with a teaspoon of salt.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, the rice is precooked at this stage.
Mix the cooked black beans with the rice.
Remove the chicken from the oven, lift up the chicken pieces and pour the rice and black beans into the dish.
Place the chicken pieces back on top of the rice, and slightly bury into the rice.
Bake a further 45 to 60 minutes, basting the chicken once or twice, until the rice is tender and the chicken is golden brown.
Serve with additional chopped cilantro.
Plantain Tostones topped with
Shredded Cuban Island Chicken and Cilantro Crème
The Cuban Chicken main dish can be transformed into a great appetizer! Debone some of the chicken, shred and mix with a little of the sauce, sans the rice and beans. An easier version is to marinate some chicken breasts in the marinade recipe, grill or bake and shred.
Tostones are prepared from green plantains, the cousin of the banana, these are best eaten cooked. For successful Tostones, look for plantains that are green with brown speckles, if they are too ripe they will not fry up well.
Traditionally, Tostones are made by twice deep frying the plantain pieces, I have developed a recipe that pan fries with less oil. Use a saturated fat that can withstand high heat cooking like coconut oil, ghee, lard or beef tallow, I used a combination of ghee and coconut oil for this recipe, purely for flavor.
4 green Plantains
Coconut Oil & Ghee for cooking
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the plantains and cut into 1 “pieces.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add about 3 tablespoons of cooking fat, and immediately begin cooking the plantains, they oxidize quickly.
Fry, turning often until golden on all sides, remove to a cutting board.
Using a plate or bowl, carefully flatten the plantains into large chips.
Wipe the skillet clean if necessary, add more cooking fat, around three tablespoons, and fry the plantains for a second time, until crispy and golden.
Hold in a warm oven.
A simple topping for the appetizer, this delicious crème can be used on tacos and entrees too.
2 cups Crème Fraiche or Sour Crème
1 bunch Cilantro, rough chopped
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or piping bag for easy dispensing.
Top each tostone with a little shredded chicken, drizzle with the crème, and top with extra chopped cilantro.
Check back for more recipes to follow!!