Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seville Chicken ... and a little grumbling about Microsoft Word and HTML code

Do you know what I don't like about Microsoft Word? I puts in a whole heap of junk HTML coding into the document outside of the text and the actual code needed to format the text you've written. I complain about this because I recently had to edit a book for a friend who had written it in Word and I had to correct the HTML to make some of the formatting work. It was a painful experience of editing HTML code for the better part of a Sunday afternoon. Of course, I also get reminded of this every time I write a blog post.

Why you ask? Because a lot of my recipes are in Word and when I want to insert them into a blog post, I then need to copy it into Notepad, strip out the formatting, copy it back into my chosen blog writing medium (in this case being an email composed in Gmail) and then reformatted.

Of course, now you will ask why I am writing my blog post in Gmail as an email rather than just doing it in the interface from Blogger? Because I don't like the way that formats either. I think I complained about it here when I first learned about it.

The Boy who writes the SAZ in the Cellar blog does all his composing in Blogger and writing in Blogger and even manages to do some fancy formatting with this text alignment around pictures. I am less inclined to fiddle around with the interface, so I have found a way which works for me and which I find easy.

What do I do? I write my blog post in my Gmail email interface, format it and add a picture, then hit send. Once I do that, I go into my blog and edit the post. The only things that I really do there are centre the picture and add labels to the post. This works for me. Of course, it's not as elegant as doing it all in the Blogger interface but I do like that Gmail autosaves and I find it easy to format. It also brings to mind the fact that I'm getting more set in my ways (read: getting older) and less flexible when it comes to learning new ways of doing things, not incapable, just less flexible and less willing to do so graciously.

And finally, you ask: What does this have to do with Seville Chicken? Well, I'll tell you ... when it comes to cooking, I'm much more willing to learn and try new things and this Seville Chicken dish did that for me on many levels.

As a dish, it was of course, new and I was trying it for the first time, but also, where the flavors were concerned, I was taking a step out into some unknown territory with ingredients like orange and different colored capsicums in a combination of flavors that I had not previously tried. It was also my first attempt at a Spanish dish.

I confess to being intimidated by recipes that seem to have a very long list of ingredients but less so as I become more experienced with my cooking. Looking at the ingredient list for this dish gave me pause, but at the same time, I wanted to try something new and decided to go with the challenge.

Here's the RECIPE for my Seville Chicken:

  • 1 orange
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow capsicum, seeded and sliced
  • 115g chorizo sausage, sliced
  • ½ cup flaked / sliced almonds
  • 1 large cup brown rice
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • Generous pinch of dried thyme
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Fresh thyme sprigs to garnish

  • Pare a thin strip of peel from the orange using a vegetable peeler and set it aside. Peel the orange, then cut it into even segments, working over a bowl to catch any excess juice. Dust the chicken with plenty of seasoned flour
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken pieces until nicely browned. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic to the pan and fry until onion begins to brown. Add sliced red and yellow capsicum to pan and fry, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until slightly softened
  • Add chorizo, stir fry for a few minutes, sprinkle over the almonds and rice. Cook, stirring for 1 – 2 minutes
  • Pour in chicken stock, chopped tomatoes and white wine, then add the reserved orange peel and the dried thyme. Season well, Bring the sauce to simmering point, stirring, then return the chicken to the pan
  • Cover tightly and cook over a very low heat for 1 – 1 ¼ hours until the rice and chicken are tender. Just before serving, add the orange segments and juice, and allow to cook briefly to heat through. Season to taste, garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme and serve

Overall, if you follow the instructions, this is not difficult to make. It does require some patience though.

I did not vary the recipe very much, since this was new to me and also because I could not think of much that I wanted to do to change it.

The only thing that I really did differently was that rather than cooking it over the stove on a low heat after all the ingredients went in, I turned my oven onto 120 degrees Celsius and put the entire pot covered with a lid into the oven to slow cook. Oh, I also used one of those cast iron enamel pots (though mine is just regular Benzer rather than the much lusted after Le Creuset) rather than just a regular pan to cook in. This allowed the dish to be covered and slow cooked in the oven a lot better.

This dish was a complete surprise to me. The orange gave it a very tangy flavor and when you first eat it after it's been cooked the flavors are intense and almost all battling for supremacy in your mouth - between the orange, capsicum, the tomato and the various meat flavors - a delightful tango in your mouth. However, after a few days, when the flavors have integrated and mellowed, it became an entirely different dish yet again - smooth, rich, tasty.

Definitely a very yummy dish that has made it's way into my permanent cooking repetoire.

© This work is copyrighted to Invest-Ex and Destiny's Fortunes Pty Ltd

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