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Jamaican curried chicken with rice and peas

January 7, 2009

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Serves 6

Aja Jackson makes this dish with Walkerswood Jamaican curry powder, but you can also use other brands. If you want to add a chili pepper to the dish, put it into the simmering chicken at the beginning of cooking.

CHICKEN

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (save the squeezed half)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
Generous dash of hot sauce, or to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces and vinegar. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken. Add the lemon juice and lemon half. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. With tongs, lift the pieces from the bowl (without rinsing) and transfer them to another bowl.

2. Add the garlic, thyme, 4 tablespoons curry powder, salt, and pepper to the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

3. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

4. Add the chicken to the onion with any juices in the bowl. Cook for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is well browned. Add just enough water to cover the chicken (about 3 cups). Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes.

5. Add the russet and sweet potatoes. Continue cooking the dish for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender (total cooking time is 1 hour). The chicken meat should be falling off the bone. Add more water during cooking if the pan seems dry. With a large fork or the back of a spoon, mash some of the potatoes to thicken the stew. Add hot sauce, to taste. (Make the rice and peas while the chicken cooks.)

RICE AND PEAS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 can (15 ounces) pigeon peas (do not drain)
1 2/3 cups converted white rice
3 1/3 cups water

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the thyme, salt, pepper, adobo seasoning, and paprika. Stir well.

2. Add the peas and liquid and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir thoroughly. Add water, bring to a boil, cover the pan, and lower the heat. Simmer the rice for 25 minutes. Remove the thyme.

3. Spoon rice and peas into deep plates and top with curried chicken.

Adapted from Aja Jackson