Field Trip: Sazerac Tuesday at Old Standard Fried Chicken

My friend Jen and I have established a fabulous ritual that all cocktail-minded women of the world should consider: Sazerac Tuesdays! Sazerac Tuesdays: the best thing to happen to work weeks since weekends. Basically, we meet at various St. Louis cocktail spots and restaurants on Tuesdays and order Sazeracs. It’s a great tradition and you should try it. You should try it every Tuesday.

not Monday, not Wednesday.... Sazerac Tuesday!

not Monday, not Wednesday…. Sazerac Tuesday!

Jen is my favorite souvenir from our trip to St. John earlier this year. Dave and I encountered Jen and boyfriend Anthony (aka The Skeptical Cardiologist: find his unbiased, evidence-based, heart-healthy musings here) at the Fatty Crab in Cruz Bay one night; we discovered they were also from the STL area and also discovered they’re lots of fun and pretty great all-around; they had us at “yes, of course we should order another round of picklebacks.” Great minds thinking alike in boozy paradise.

Upon returning to St. Louis, Jen and I have Sazerac-ed Gamlin Whiskey House, The Royale, Pastaria, and Old Standard Fried Chicken and have separately Sazerac-ed at Planter’s House and Taste. This city is big and has become a stellar place to have a stellar cocktail. There is much more Sazerac-ing to be done around St. Louis, and we’re just the women to do it.

someone's gotta do it

here we come to save the daaaay!

Our most recent ST spot was Old Standard Fried Chicken. Old Standard is the brainchild of Ben Poremba, Tower Grove food wizard who brought Elaia, Olio, and Choquette to our fair city. The small restaurant, housed in what used to be a police stable on Tower Grove Avenue, showcases well-executed  fried chicken and an impressive selection of American whiskies. Poremba brings in his chickens from Miller Poultry in Orland, Indiana, a natural and humane poultry farm I envision to be not unlike the one in Portlandia (“Is it local?” “Yes, this is the chicken you’ll be enjoying tonight. His name was Colin, here are his papers…”). They’re fed an all-vegetarian diet and are hormone and antibiotic free. The chickens also vote in every election, support urban farming, and don’t vaccinate their children.

before Poremba, courtesy Google street view… after Poremba, photo credit Feast Magazine

After being brined and cooked in a pressure fryer to ensure consistency, Old Standard’s ethically raised, finger licking chicken is available à la carte, a service option that should be available at every restaurant with fried chicken on its menu. Jen and I started with the biscuit and bread basket, which came with a flaky biscuit, a fluffy biscuit, two types of cornbread, and our choice of three butters or jams. We went with the lemon-honey and pistachio-mint butters and the stone fruits jam. The biscuits were flaky and fluffy as promised, and the pistachio-mint butter was a real standout- I slathered it on every bite of bread I took. At just $7, the basket was a steal with quality much higher than its price and a good amount of food for two people.

old standard 1We each ordered a chicken leg, agreeing over our Sazeracs that dark meat trumps white meat, and split an order of skinny fries with blue cheese mayonnaise. I like eating with this girl because she’s not afraid to EAT FOOD. Butter? Yes. Dark meat? Yes yes. Blue cheese mayonnaise? Yes yes yes. YOLO, as the kids say. Our chicken legs and fries came out and my eyes, glittering with the reflection of drumsticks, had for once ordered appropriately for my stomach. Old Standard’s chicken legs are of a generous size, very juicy, not at all greasy, and have a slightly sweet flavor to it from the brine and possibly from the impeccable lifestyle they led before coming to Missouri. The fries were hot and crispy, the way Steak and Shake fries claim to be but never are, and the blue cheese mayonnaise- well,  how could blue cheese mayonnaise be bad?

old standard 3

To enjoy with the chicken and coming in just above my beloved pistachio-mint butter was another Better Than It Has To Be house-made condiment: Old Standard’s hot sauce. We ate at the bar and I was lucky enough to glimpse a nondescript but promising reddish-orange bottle behind the counter and requested that it be passed my way.  Good things come in unmarked squeeze bottles. Let me tell you: this stuff should be served at the door in shots. It’s perfectly balanced- spicy but not fiery, tangy but not a vinegar punch to the mouth, and quite literally made to be eaten with Old Standard’s fried chicken. I enjoyed my chicken leg in bliss, strategically exposing every nibble of crispy, meaty real estate onto which I could squeeze the hot sauce. If you go, please do yourself a favor and ask for it.

old standard 4

Lolo like-a da hot sauce

I suppose I should mention the Sazeracs since they got us here, didn’t they? They were great. You should go get one sometime. That’s all I have in the way of a Sazerac review- either they’re done well or they’re not, and OS didn’t mess around. In the way of beer, Urban Chestnut has an “Old Standard” pilsner on tap here- it’s quite tasty and pairs well with the chicken. Hints of honey, and it’s served in a stein (awesome). Anthony met us later in the night and was equally impressed by the chicken and by a side of braised red cabbage served in an individual cast-iron pot. On my next Old Standard visit, which I hope is sooner rather than later, I’m ordering the pickles, the boiled peanut hummus, and the greens (check out the rest of the creative yet authentically Southern menu here). It’s doubtful that anything on the Old Standard menu is less than outstanding; you owe it to yourself to check it out. Shoot, treat yo self. Maybe on a Tuesday… A Sazerac Tuesday.

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Chicken Roasted with Mushrooms and Shallots & Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (gf)

We’re officially on the gluten-free express train. Our kitchen was mostly gluten-free before Dave’s diagnosis but now there’s actual gluten protocol to follow (i.e., no gluten at all en la casa). This isn’t a huge deal, as I can always scarf chewy chunks of Panera baguette in my car and continue to have glutinous adventures at work, where we eat as if it’s the last day on Earth everyday (they get me).

chicken13

The new rules have inspired creativity [when I’ve had time to cook], as evidenced in last night’s ingenious mashed cauliflower. What a great idea! Total mashed potato fake-out. Yes, potatoes are gluten-free but cauliflower is a lower GI food, has more vitamins, blah blah blah. The mashed cauliflower can be as light or as creamy and indulgent as you’d like and, as for the roasted chicken, it’s delicious and easy and everyone loves roasted chicken. That’s all the intro roasted chicken ever needs. ‘Twas a hearty, warming, comforting dinner perfect for fall.

chicken 14

CHICKEN ROASTED WITH MUSHROOMS AND SHALLOTS

Adapted from the Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 chicken leg quarters, skin-on
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint white mushrooms (about 12), washed well and sliced
  • 4 large shallots, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

GARLIC MASHED CAULIFLOWER 

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets, OR 2 bags pre-cut cauliflower
  • 1 clove garlic, minced OR 4-5 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese, softened and/or 2 tbsp chèvre
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened OR 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/8 tsp chicken bouillon or chicken base
  • cracked black pepper
  • fresh snipped chives

Directions:

Both of these recipes are pretty quick. The chicken pan roasts, then finishes in the oven; the cauliflower boils and is puréed. Facilisimo. Let’s start with the chicken and then make the cauliflower as the chicken roasts. Preheat your over to 350. In a cast iron or other oven-safe pan, heat the olive oil over medium. If you’re making cauliflower now, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken leg quarters liberally with salt and pepper and add, skin-side down, to the hot oil.

Cook for 5 minutes, letting the skin brown. Flip over and cook the backsides for 5 minutes as well. You may want to use a splatter guard, as the olive oil will be deliciously crackly and splatter-prone.

When both sides have browned, top the chicken with the sliced mushrooms, shallots, and rosemary, tucking the veggies in between the chicken pieces. Slide the pan into the hot oven and let roast for 20 minutes. Cauliflower time! If you haven’t already, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and boil for 6-8 minutes, until softened. Drain well in a colander, but don’t let the cauliflower cool off too much- you’ll use its heat to melt and disperse the cheeses and butter (mmm, melting cheeses and butter).

When the cauliflower has drained, add it to a food processor or put it back into the pot you boiled it in if you’re using an immersion blender. Add your chosen cheeses, garlic, bullion, milk, and pepper. Blend. Taste for seasonings and consistency and adjust as needed (salt, pepper, more milk, more cheese, etc.). Eat a few spoonsful and top with chives. Back to the chicken!

chicken 11

photo credt: Dave Cruse

The amazing part is, your chicken is done. It will look fabulous. Remove the chicken and veggies to a platter, discarding the rosemary sprigs, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving to lock in the juices (I love saying that). Lock ’em in. Now would be the time to make a simple pan sauce or sprinkle with lemon juice, if you’d like. The dish is certainly tasty enough to not need a sauce, but it wouldn’t hurt. Pour a glass of wine (pairing recommendations here), scoop up some cauliflower, cut a piece of chicken, and enjoy.


Quickie: Coconut-Chili Shrimp & Snow Pea Brown Rice “Risotto” (gf)

Need a quick dinner idea? Have little time but want lots of flavor? Do you have a pound of shrimp or chicken and a green vegetable handy? Let’s do this.

risotto

COCONUT-CHILI SHRIMP & SNOW PEA BROWN RICE RISOTTO

Adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, or 1 lb chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bag ready to eat snow peas, or 2 cups other green vegetable (broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic paste, such as Huy Fong
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste (or increase chili garlic paste by 1/2-1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 scallion, sliced (optional)
  • juice of a lime (optional)

Directions:

Heat the coconut oil in a deep saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp or chicken and cook, stirring, until no longer pink (3 minutes for shrimp, 5 minutes for chicken). Remove the cooked shrimp or chicken to a plate and add the coconut milk, chili paste, salt, and red curry paste to the pan; bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer, allowing the sauce to reduce to about half. Add your green veggie and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the rice, shrimp or chicken, and lime juice, stirring to combine, and cook two minutes more (or until rice is hot). Top with sliced scallion and serve! Easy snow-peasy!


Trinidadian Chicken & Shrimp Asopao (gf)

When Dave goes out of town, the happenings atop my stove get spicy and exotic. I cook within my comfort food zone. The meals are usually tropical recipes that involve rice (brown… I wish so much that white rice wasn’t horrible for us… le sigh), and generally made in big batches so I only have to cook once in order to cover several meals. This frees up my alone time to do like PT leg workouts with the cat staring at me, and to drink wine, wear sweatpants, and watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Those last three are one continuous activity, each component reliant on the others for success.

asopao

Here’s what I whipped up last week, while wearing a clay face mask and blaring Feist. An asopao is a variation on a rice stew, kind of like a tropical jambalaya.

TRINIDADIAN CHICKEN & SHRIMP ASOPAO

Adapted from Andrew Zimmern (I know, right?) 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 garlic cloves or 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see below)
  • 3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, optional (could opt for jalapeno instead)
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Chop the chicken thighs into one-inch pieces, and mix with the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cover this and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. It will be fine and no one will die or be poisoned, I swear. Meanwhile, chop all of your veggies, thaw the shrimp, if necessary, and thaw the peas. Preheat your oven to 400. Spread the shredded coconut across a baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes, until toasted. Pour into a bowl to cool when done.toasted coconut

Ina  large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken after it has marinated, scraping into the pan any yummy, garlicky thyme and oregano bits. Cook the chicken until browned, about five minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Use a slotted spoon so you leave the fragrant olive or coconut oil behind.

chicken cooking

Add the peppers and onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rice and coconut and cook for another minute; then add the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom fo the pan. Add the tomatoes, add the chicken back to the pot, add the chicken broth and the coconut milk. Taste now and season with salt and pepper, and give the pot a good stir. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

veggie nom noms

When your 45 minutes is up, stir in the shrimp, peas, and lime juice; cover again and cook another 5-10 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the rice is tender. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce. I have been reading this post back to myself in the voice of Sebastian the crab as I type…. Disney movies are another home-alone guilty pleasure, and this dish would pair well with The Little Mermaid. Or The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants, whichever. Enjoy!


Trader Joe’s Upgrade: Channa Masala with Chicken & Peas (gf, v option)

The second best thing to cooking meals from scratch is doctoring ready-to-go options, don’t you think? I think this is called “faking it” in the real world, but hey- you do what you gotta do when you’re low on time and need to eat. This week, I fell in love with a frozen meal that will become a staple in our household: Trader Joe’s Channa Masala. It’s a Punjabi Indian chickpea dish with a tomato base and coriander, cilantro, mango powder, onion, and garlic. It’s incredibly, incredibly aromatic, it’s low calorie, and vegan. And cooks in four minutes.

channa masala chicken and bread

Trader Joe’s was giving out samples the last time I was there, and I followed the intoxicating aroma across the store like  a cartoon character floating by its nose. I grabbed two out of the freezer before I had swallowed my first bite. It’s that good. And $2.99. Cheap and delicious- two of my favorite adjectives!

Lauren goes to Trader Joe's

Lauren goes to Trader Joe’s

It’s snowing in St. Louis today, and Dave ventured out to the International grocery store before the weather got too bad. He came back with a surprise- freshly made Afghan bread. Two large circles of light, bubbly, pita-like bread, meant to be torn  in chunks and used to scoop up saucy foods… Saucy foods like channa masala. Aaaand the post comes full circle. Here’s how we prepared today’s channa masala and Afghan bread for lunch:

CHANNA MASALA WITH CHICKEN & PEAS

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages Trader Joe’s Channa Masala
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 chicken breasts, optional- I listed this as vegan because the chicken can be left out
  • Afghan bread, pitas, or naan, or brown rice for gf (Trader Joe’s sells frozen naan next to the channa masala, but if you have a local international grocery store, you’ll be able to find an interesting middle eastern, Indian, or African bread there.)

Directions:

THIS IS SO EASY. Boil two chicken breasts in salted water for about ten minutes or until cooked and chop, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Heat the channa masala trays one at a time, for three minutes each. Add the chopped chicken back into the saucepan you cooked it in (water drained, of course), add the contents of both channa masala trays.

tjs channa masala

Add the reserved cooking water and the frozen peas. Cook for about five minutes, uncovered, until the mixture is well combined and the peas are hot. Serve with Afghan bread and enjoy the fun and sensual experience of eating with your hands. We enjoyed the scooping and the messiness- it seems natural! What are some of your favorite ready-made foods to doctor up??

Afghan bread


Pollo Guisado: Dominican Stewed Chicken (gf)

I’ve clearly been on a Dominican cuisine kick lately. I think the cold weather is making me crave comfort food, and Dominican food is a great source of comfort to me. Physically being in the DR would also be a source of comfort, preferably on a beach with assorted rum cocktails in hand, but this dish isn’t a bad substitute (and it’s, you know, cheaper).

pollo guisado dinner

Pollo guisado is a savory stewed chicken dish that’s served over rice. As I mentioned in my first post on the cuisine of the Dominican Republic, it’s not spicy. Dominican food instead relies on aromatics like garlic, onions, mild peppers like bell peppers, cilantro, vinegar, spices like oregano, and seasonings like lime and lemon for its healthy bursts of flavor. So don’t be scurred to try it; it’s quite palatable and approachable. Also, considering the colonial history of the Dominican Republic, its food has European, African, and Taíno Indian influences, so it’s basically a trip around the world on a plate and a party in your mouth. Plantains are a staple crop, as are rice and beans. And explaining this is making me hungry, so let’s get to it. I really think you’ll love this hearty, mouth-watering dish.

POLLO GUISADO

Ingredients:

  • 6 servings white or brown rice, prepared according to package directions
  • 4-6 lbs chicken pieces, skin removed. I recommend legs and thighs for this dish.
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  •  1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, red or green, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, mincedrecaito
  • 1 6-oz container Goya Recaito cilantro cooking base, available at large grocery stores and international grocery stores
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup green olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced

Directions:

Grab a large bowl. Cut the lime in half and rub the skinned chicken with the lime, then sprinkle with the tablespoon salt. Juice the lime and pour the juice over the chicken pieces; toss to coat and let marinate for 30 minutes. You can toss this a few times while it marinates, if you’re OCD and are deeply satisfied by evenly coated chicken, like you’re ol’ pal Lauren is. “Washing” poultry with citrus juice is a Caribbean culinary mainstay; I imagine the origins have something to do with the anti microbial properties of the juice keeping the poultry fresh, but here we’re just doing it to be tasty.

marinating

marinating

In the meantime, slice and dice your veggies (onion, pepper, cilantro, potatoes, carrots) and cook your rice. When the chicken’s ready to go, rinse the pieces with cold water and pat dry. Put on a large dish- you’ll use it again in a minute. In a large dutch oven, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Lightly brown the chicken pieces on both sides in batches, 4-5 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove the chicken to the plate you so wisely left nearby.

pollo guisado

When the chicken has been browned, add the onion, green pepper, and cilantro to the pot and saute for a few minutes- you may need to add oil or lower the heat- just make sure there’s no sticking. Add the garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and recaito; cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring. Add the olives and tomato sauce, and cook for 2 more minutes.

bubbling away

bubbling away

Stir in the chicken broth and vinegar, and add the chicken back to the pot along with the potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 40 minutes.  Remove the lid and let simmer, lidless, filling up your home with the enticing  promise of really good food, for another 20 minutes. That’s it! Let cool 5-10 minutes on a cool burner, and serve over rice (I opted for brown, and it was delicious). Pass hot sauce around for those who like a kick. Buen provecho!

smell-o-vision

smell-o-vision

Stuff’s so good, it’ll make you want to dance:



Quickie: Chicken and Vegetables, Roasted in Cast Iron (gf)

This is a lovely and impressive dish that involves very minimal effort, and can be made with (more or less) what vegetables you have available. And I’ve included a pan gravy recipe below! Since this is a quickie entry, let’s get to it:

chicken veg

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES, ROASTED IN CAST IRON

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken leg quarters, washed and split into a leg and a thigh
  • a cast iron pan or deep, heavy casserole dish
  • 1/2 bag carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 4-5 stalks celery, washed, ends trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper

Directions:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees, placing rack in the middle of the oven. Arrange vegetables and thyme in the bottom of your cast iron pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Place your washed, dried, and split chicken pieces over the vegetables, and sprinkle those with salt and pepper. Coat your fingertips with about a teaspoon of olive oil, and rub the chicken pieces well, rubbing some oil (and salt) under the skin. Repeat until pieces are well-coated, using 3-4 teaspoons of oil. Pop the pan in your hot oven and roast for 45 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. So easy! So pretty! So delicious! Enjoy.

Here’s a little brainstorm of substitutions that could be made:

  • rosemary sprigs or dried thyme instead of thyme
  • cut potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of veggies listed
  • leeks or ramps instead of yellow onion
  • add a halved lemon to the pan

Also, you’ll have some delicious pan juices left from this recipe. Here’s a simple formula for pan gravy:

Pour pan drippings into a measuring cup, let sit for a few minutes, and  pour off all but 1/2 cup fat.  Add 1/2 cup fat back to pan, whisk in 1/2 cup flour over medium heat, and cook until hot and thick. In a large measuring cup, measure remaining juices (fat has been discarded), and add chicken stock to equal four cups. Add to pan and allow to cook- when it bubbles, cook for 1-2 minutes to cook off floury taste, then remove from heat. Taste and season accordingly.


Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya with Brown Rice (gf)

MAN! Temperatures have dropped and it is, somehow, late fall… i.e., almost winter. Happened out of nowhere! While I love winter (a little bit, sometimes- I mean, Christmas is part of winter), my Dominican blood has me patiently and politely waiting out the next few months until tree buds appear and the birds come back. It will be summer again someday… right?

Cajun nom noms

Until then, I’m occupying myself with cooking healthy, hearty meals and trying to get back into another winter habit/necessity… dragging myself to the gym. Almost gone are the sweaty days of running and biking outside, and swimming in the morning with the sun out. Welcome to the days of going to the gym early in the dark, cold mornings to stare at cinder block walls and run asfastaspossible from the locker room to the pool. BRR. Made this jambalaya last night to carb us up for this morning’s workouts and to satisfy our cold weather comfort food cravings (without expanding the ol’ waistlines). Like to hear it, here it go**:

CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA WITH BROWN RICE

Adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen– a fantastic blog

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkg Jennie-O turkey Kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • holy trinity mirepoix: 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 2 stalks celery, in small dice
  • 1-2 tsp crushed garlic, or 2 cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  •  1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or 3 cups water with 3 tsp chicken base)
  • 2 cups uncooked, long-grain brown rice (1 16oz bag)
  • 1 stalk green onions, sliced
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot and add the sausage slices. Brown the sausage slices on both sides and remove. Reduce heat to medium and add the holy trinity, scraping up the yummy browned sausage bits form the bottom of the pot. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

veggies, pushed to sides of pot

Push the vegetables to the sides of the pot and add the chicken, browning for 5 minutes. Add the spices (cayenne, paprika, thyme, allspice, pepper, oregano) and toss the mixture to combine. Add the garlic, sausage, canned tomatoes and sauce, and the bay leaf; simmer this mixture, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

add them thighs

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir to combine, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking for an hour. Since you’re using brown rice, it may take longer to cook- try at the end of your cooking time and if it still needs a few minutes, add a bit more water, stir, and keep cooking. This dish can handle a lot of cooking. Let cool  for a few minutes and serve with scallions and Tabasco. Carb up! Enjoy!

getting ready to simmer

Before I let you go, a note on chicken thighs: they get a bad rap for being fattier than chicken breasts, but research shows that they contain more nutrients (and not that much fat at all, especially when skinned and trimmed). Much of the fat they do contain is monounsaturated. My tastebuds’ reasearch has shown that they’re much more flavorful and moist, and I prefer them to dry, bland chicken breast any day of the week. Need more convincing? Thighs are about half the price of breasts! So even if you’ve been a breast guy your whole life, take a walk on the wild side. Give thighs a try.

**Calhoun Tubbs has a song to share. Like to hear it, here it go: