I have been following with interest these past few month Diane’s Kitchen Table, where the host of that blog has been undergoing a major kitchen refit. The results are spectacular to say the least. Wondering what was going to be created in this new space, I was informed that lobster risotto has already been completed.
Now in that part of the world lobster risotto might be an everyday dish; over here most people don’t even know what a lobster looks like (I know however that it is not supposed to look like the strange squashed frozen thing shrink-wrapped into a tube we Brits can find in the back of the freezer at the local supermarket).
And this got me thinking about what is common-as-chips or totally acceptable in one part of the world is completely outlandish and bizarre in another.
Take Sannakji for example, a dish I read about on a blog (sorry I cannot remember which one). It’s a Korean delicacy comprising octopus, sesame seeds and oil. Not bad if you like that sort of thing – straightforward, simple food. Except for one important feature. The octopus is still alive.
Yes that’s right. They chop it up, splash some oil on it and serve it with the tentacles still squirming around on the plate as you pop a yummy morsel in your mouth.
But here is the best bit. You have to watch how you eat it. Because the suckers on the tentacles are still working. People are known to have died because the suckers have attached themselves to the inside of the diner’s throat and choked them to death. Mother didn’t tell you to chew your food because she liked the sound of her own voice you know. She had a point.
Seriously ridiculous way to kill yourself. Better off sticking with chicken-based creations like this easy-peasy chilli dish. Mexican Chipotle Chicken Stew benefits from a smoky chipotle paste. Chicken is altogether less likely to wake up and nip you on the tongue than an octopus (although I am aware of the fact that chickens can run around the yard after their heads have been cut off). Seems a bit late to kick off about being beheaded though.
Mexican Chipotle Chicken Stew
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 small onions
- 2 chicken breasts, corn-fed, free range
- 1 large red pepper
- half red chili
- a small jar chipotle paste
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- half a glass red wine
- half can pinto beans
- 1 big handful chopped coriander
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- the other half can of pinto beans
- juice of one lime
- another handful of coriander, chopped
- salt and pepper
Get a dutch oven or pot and heat some oil on a low heat. Add the chopped garlic and red chilli and fry for a few mins.
Then add the onion and red pepper. Cook for a while longer then add the chopped tomatoes, paste, stock, wine, and whole chicken breasts.
Bring to a simmer. Pop in an oven at 150 centigrade for half an hour or so. Remove from the oven.
Take out the chicken and transfer to a plate. Shred the chicken and return to the pot with the beans and sugar.
Add more wine or water if the sauce is too thick. Return to the oven. Meanwhile cook the rice. For the last minute add the beans.
Drain then add the coriander and lime juice.
Take the pot out of the oven and stir in the coriander. Scatter a few leaves on top. Check the seasoning.
Serve with the yogurt.