|Confetti Chicken Pelau
I helped someone make
this delicious recipe about 1995 and have been looking for it ever since. The original
Trinidadian Pelau is from Mrs. Mary de Verteuil, and I "kicked it up a notch"
with some additions (the original is HERE). I also tried to
reduce the labour involved - hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!!
- then leave in oven until needed!!
Indians (or 10 - 12 north americans!!)
|Timing Hints: The Pelau only takes
half an hour to prepare once you get started. Then, as long as you turn the oven off at 30
minutes and leave the pan inside there there is no rush to serve - all the moisture is
trapped inside the baking pan.
Equipment Hints: Again, this is a
classic one-pot dish from a cuisine where many families only have one pot. Use your
heaviest, thickest bottom covered pot or oven-ready skillet for best results. I use a
large oval high-top turkey roasting pan (with its' cover) and that works well.
teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)
About 3 tbsp cooking oil (olive oil is healthiest)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 whole fryer chicken cut into pieces
About 2-3 pounds of thighs (about 12), drumsticks and/or breasts, etc.
Leave the bones in, if you wish. They emerge by themselves later on anyway!!
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bulb ginger, skinned, finely chopped
1 tbsp vinegar (any kind)
1 tomato, roughly diced
Bunch of thyme - 1/2 with, 1/2 without stalks)
6 Chives, chopped into 1/4 inch lengths
1 large can of black-eyed peas (or red beans) (drained & washed)
1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Pepper
2 large sweet peppers, diced
(2 colours make
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
4 cups water
6 tbsp Cassareep (thick gravy browning)
2 cups rice
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
In a large
skillet (frying pan) - or the baking pan indicated below - heat the brown sugar in oil
until melted and caramelised.
|Add chicken to
skillet and brown in the hot oil
||Bake all chicken in
pre-heated oven @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes to brown
||Deep-fry chicken in
|Reserve chicken (if
deep-fried, dry well with paper towels)
Add all seasonings and 2 cups of water, stir and allow to cook for 35 minutes.
Then add 3 cups of water and gently stir in all of the rice.
Arrange the chicken (without the toothpicks!!) at the bottom of a baking pan (one which
has a cover). Pour the liquid and rice mixture over the top, level the mixture over the
entire pan, and add water just to that level.
Raisins can be added with the water or after the oven is turned off.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off.
The Pelau will now be ready whenever you are - just leave the top on and the oven door
closed. When ready to serve remove the pan from the oven and uncover, fluff well with a
fork or spoon (to distribute the flaking meat and allow some of the remaining moisture to
evaporate), and take directly to the table.
literally about 30 minutes of preparation, 30 minutes of cooking. If deep-frying the
chicken, the first 30 minutes is 2 batches of 6 thighs each in the fryer while I slice,
dice and generally prepare everything else. When all the chicken is done, it all goes into
one covered pan and the meal is ready 30 minutes later (or whenever you get back to it).
the spirit of one-pot cooking, you could use the same large baking pan on the stovetop to
make the seasoning sauce, and mix the chicken into the rice before topping with water and
covering to bake.
this is not for an informal family dinner, remove everything from the baking pan to an
attractive serving dish with a large kitchen spoon or ladle, extracting the bones,
cartilage and thyme stalks as you transfer (they are uncovered anyway and easily found as
you are fluffing the rice).
Leaving the bones and thyme stalks in for the cooking segment is a definite flavour
Indians at home would plate themselves directly from the baking pan at the table, and
remove the bones and thyme stalks as they are eating.
pieces pre-cleaned of bones and cartilage, and using only the thyme leaves are appropriate
for that more "sophisticated" setting where ladies may be involved.
individuals may also want to remove the skin from the chicken before cooking - another
decision about whether to enhance the flavour or to remove the cholesterol.
is an excellent all-in-one dish for making in quantity, portioning out and freezing for
the convenience of future snacks or meals.
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