Monday, January 23, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Rendang

For the last 28 years we have lived here at the farm I have stoically dealt with no heat in my kitchen. Well, except for in the months of June through September when, due to the kitchen’s western exposure, there was plenty of radiant heat in the late afternoons…

But this kitchen, built sometime in the early 1960’s as an addition, is on a concrete slab and has no source of heat other than what wafts through the 28” door opening into the dining room and the pilot lights on my stove. It is a massive range, a commercial one with 6 burners, two ovens, a raised griddle and broiler underneath, and there are 11 pilots going at all times (except during the months of June through September when I only turn on the gas and light the pilots to make a meal). The bit of warmth from these pilot lights are, I am sure, what keeps my water lines under the sink from freezing during these single-digit nights.

This will soon end.

We are planning to have another addition constructed on the main level, this one a laundry room extension and a new, large bathroom. While a wall is being taken out, the commercial stove will be (somehow) carried out of the kitchen through this large opening. I like the stove, it has served me well for 20-some years, but I now want a smaller range and more cabinets and counter space.

Also, the new stove will feature a convection oven, which will make the annual Christmas baking extravaganza much less frustrating. A commercial stove such as mine is great for cooking and roasting, but not so much for baking cookies and pastries.

I am so excited, and am having great fun looking at stove options (and shower units, whirlpools, lighting, etc.). And another very exciting part of this renovation is that we will finally be able to add heat to the kitchen. Imagine! I will soon be able to make breakfast in the winter without my hands being freezing cold!

Of course, that’s if the contractor returns. He was supposed to call last Monday about an imminent start date. I’m not too worried, though, since he has disappeared before then reappeared eventually. At least he does return, unlike others we have hired in the past. ;)

There will probably be a few days where I will be without a stove and I am prepared to make do with the microwave, toaster oven, and crockpot.

I’ve never used my slow cooker much. In fact, I had originally purchased it to anneal glass beads when I went through a glass-bead-making phase. But I started to actually use it occasionally last year and found that it is very handy to have. And I like being able to put ingredients in it, go and get involved in a project, then return to the kitchen hours later to find dinner already made.

The following is a recipe which I developed last week, after talking at length with a friend about a new Thai restaurant and realizing that our conversation had started a craving for something with a flavorful sauce of coconut milk, lime, lemongrass, and spice.

“Randang” is a Malaysian dish which is meat or fish slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices. I used chicken breasts (no big surprise, there) and added vegetables as well. Honestly, for a first effort, I was surprised at how well it turned out and that’s why I am posting the recipe. There was a lot of sauce, so next time I may use only about 2/3 of the can of coconut milk. Or maybe not since I now have a delicious sauce to use for stir-fried shrimp later this week.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Crockpot Chicken Rendang

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings : 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast

1 can light coconut milk

2 tablespoons Madras curry powder

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced lemongrass

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper -- (use less if you don't want a moderate amount of heat)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

5 whole garlic cloves

1 small onion -- coarsely chopped, about 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons cashews

16 ounces bell pepper -- green, colored, or a mix; chopped in 1" pieces; about 1-1/2 large

8 ounces carrots -- peeled and cut diagonally 1/2" thick; about 2 large

2 1/2 ounces frozen green beans -- thawed; about 1 cup

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 1/2 cups basmati rice -- uncooked

Cut the chicken breast into large pieces (about 1 per serving). In a small amount of oil, brown the chicken on two sides in a large skillet.

While the chicken is browning, in the crockpot, mix the coconut milk through the ground black pepper.

While the food processor is running, drop in the garlic cloves and process until chopped. Add the onion through cashews and process until all are finely chopped. While the machine is running, add 1/4 cup water in a slow stream to make a paste. Scrape this mixture out into the crockpot and mix. Add the bell pepper and carrots to the coconut milk mixture, then place the browned chicken breast peins on top. Cover, turn to high, and cook for 3 hours. Add the thawed green beans, cover, turn the crockpot to low, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Add the thawed green beans, cover, and turn the crockpot to low. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Prepare rice during this final 30 minutes.

Stir in the coconut extract.

In shallow bowls, serve chicken pieces and vegetables with generous amounts of sauce over steamed rice; sprinkle with cilantro. Squeeze wedges of fresh lime over, if desired.

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Per serving: 435 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat (3g Saturated); (16% calories from fat); 42g Protein; 50g Carbohydrate; 88mg Cholesterol; 162mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

RECIPE NOTE: I prefer to use regular coconut milk and dilute with water to cut the fat content (“light coconut milk is just that—regular coconut milk cut with an equal amount of water, then sold at a higher price than the regular). But I had a can of “light”, purchased by mistake, and used it.

In either case, whether using the light or the diluted regular, I always add coconut extract to give some extra flavor. This is best added toward the end of the cooking time, so don’t forget it!