1 September 2013

Today's dinner : a creation borne of a too-full vegetable drawer!

I decided to call this evening's dinner Chicken & Vegetable Pilaff, but it really - strictly speaking - is more of a "rice'n'stuff" than ever it is a pilaff.

It was all because our vegetable drawer in the fridge was beginning to groan under the weight of so many veggies.  This weekly veggie box delivery malarky is forcing us to use many more veggies than we would normally.  Now you might think that this is no bad thing, but I'm already getting grumbles about the personal veggie quota having been exceeded.

This dish involved a lot of cutting up of various veggies, but the cooking of it was fairly uncomplicated and went really rather well.

Start off by cutting up all your veggies into the correct size and shape, then put them on plates in order of appearance in the pan.

In a big old wok, heat some groundnut (or any oil really) oil to seriously hot, then slip in a couple of finely sliced skinless chicken breasts.  Add a grind or two of black pepper and cook until golden and just cooked through.  Remove to a good sized bowl.   Immediately add diced courgette and aubergine to the pan and cook that also until it is golden on at least two sides and softened.  Remove that to the bowl with the chicken.  A slotted spoon is great for this, as it leaves the oil in the pan.  Add a little more oil if you need to, then add chopped red onion and finely sliced chilli.  Cook until softened, then add two sticks of celery and half a yellow pepper, also finely sliced.  You don't want to be waiting hours for them to soften, you see, so the more finely you slice them, the better it is.  Cook until softened.  Then add 2 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, half a tsp ground allspice and 1 tsp of caraway seeds.  Stir this lot in and cook for a minute or two, then add four chopped good sized tomatoes, three cloves of finely chopped garlic and a whole heap of button mushrooms.  Add a good half teaspoonful of sea salt.  The tomatoes will cook down into a sauce-like consistency, whereupon you can add the contents of your bowl back into the mix.  Add a small handful of flaked almonds and allow the mix to simmer while the flavours combine and the tomatoes cook down.  After around 10 minutes, test for seasoning and add a little more salt if necessary.  Add a handful of thawed garden peas and some cooked rice.  Stir through and allow to heat up, then serve.

Well, the veggie drawer is a lot lighter now!
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