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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

Or, Meal #2 from your roast chicken leftovers

Chicken quesadillas are great if you’re in a rush and want to be sitting down and eating something delicious in less than 10 minutes. Also, you don’t need to use very much chicken at all, so it’s terrific way to stretch leftovers. The apple slices are the trick in this simple recipe, adding a nice texture and sweet tart contrast. You could do this with flour tortillas instead, but try it with the corn because they really are yummier that way. If you have more time, make the rice recipe too.

Chicken Quesadillas

Leftover chicken, sliced or shredded
Corn tortillas
Butter, softened
Monteray Jack cheese, shredded
Granny Smith apple, sliced
Salsa, sour cream, guacamole or avocado, chopped cilantro, lime –whatever combo of flavorful and ‘wet’ you like

Heat up a skillet over med-high heat. Briefly warm up your leftover chicken, remove from pan and set aside. For each quesadilla: Take one tortilla, spread a little butter on it, and put it in the pan. Add a little handful of cheese to the tortilla and spread it out. When the cheese is melted and the tortilla is lightly browned, put another lightly buttered corn tortilla on it, and flip it over. (Or you can take the lightly browned single tortilla out of the pan and fold it in half. Your choice.) After about 30 seconds or so, remove from pan to a cutting board. Open it up, and add a little chicken, some apple slices, and your condiments. Put it back together, cut into wedges and serve.

Yellow Rice with Corn

I was watching Daisy Martinez on PBS one day with Anne, and we saw her make this rice. She went on and on about how tasty it is, so Anne wanted me to make it. It is *really* good, and once you buy the stuff you probably don’t already have on hand, you’re all set to make many more batches in the future. Prior to making the rice, David thought he didn’t like green olives. I made it anyway, and he scarfed it down. I didn’t point out he just ate green olives until he’d finished his second helping. (Now I am allowed to put green olives in whatever I want. Score!)

Good to know:

1) Annatto seeds, known as achiote in Spanish, are small irregularly shaped, deep reddish colored seeds about the size of a lentil. They grow in pods but are sold loose in jars in the spice aisle. I found them with the Goya products. Steeping annatto (achiote) seeds in hot olive oil for a few minutes gives the the oil a brilliant orange-gold color and it infuses it with a nutty, delicate aroma and add a quick kick to whatever you use it in.

2) Sofrito is also found in the Goya section in tall jars. It’s a combination of tomato, peppers, onion and herbs and spices which have been sauteed together and pureed. If you’re ambitious, you can make your own from scratch and keep it in the freezer.

3) Alcaparrado is also in the Goya section. It’s just a combination of green olives, pimentos and capers. The last jar of it I bought had unpitted olives in it, and I was mad when I got home and realized that I grabbed the wrong jar.

4) This recipe makes a ton. It freezes marvelously, though. So I usually make the full amount, and freeze the leftovers. You can heat up the frozen leftover rice in the microwave and it’ll be just as good as the day you made it.

Yellow Rice with Corn (adapted from a Daisy Martinez recipe)

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of annatto seeds
1/2 cup sofrito
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup alcaparrado or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups long grain white rice
Homemade or boxed chicken broth as needed (about 4 cups)
Cilantro, chopped (optional, but suggested)

1) Heat the oil and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat just until the seeds give off a lively, steady sizzle. Don’t overheat the mixture or the seeds will turn black and the oil a nasty green. This only takes a minute or two. Once they’re sizzling away, pull the pan from the heat and let stand until the sizzling stops. Strain out the seeds and put the pretty red oil into a big dutch oven, or large 4 to 5 quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid.

2) Turn the heat on medium. Stir in the sofrito and cook until most of the water is absorbed. Add the alcaparrado or olives, salt, cumin, pepper and bay leaves and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.

3) Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice with the oil and other ingredients. Cook and and stir until the rice changes color–you are shooting for a chalky opaque color.

4) Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by about 2 fingers width–this should be about 4 cups.

5) Add the corn. Bring to a boil, and let cook, uncovered until the broth reaches the level of the rice.

6) Stir the rice once (just once!) and cover. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for exactly 20 minutes. While it is cooking, don’t stir and don’t even open the pot. After the 20 minutes, let rest for 5 minutes before opening the pot. Gently fluff the rice from the bottom to the top, and sprinkle on some chopped cilantro if using and serve.

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