Sunday, April 4, 2010

RECIPE - Chicken with Maxixe (Frango com Maxixe)

This simple one-dish meal (serve with white rice and a salad) is made with Brazil's exotic spiny cucumber called maxixe (see previous post for information about maxixe, including how to order seeds online). It can also successfully be made substituting either small zucchini or pattypan squash, or okra.

RECIPE - Chicken with Maxixe (Frango com Maxixe)
Serves 4

2 pounds (1 kg.) maxixe (or other vegetable as listed above)
1 free-range chicken, approximately 3 lbs. (1.5 kgs), cut into serving pieces
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Mix chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste and vinegar in small bowl, and with wooden spoon or pestle, mash to a paste. Spread paste over chicken pieces, working the seasonings into the skin. Place chicken in refrigerator to marinade for 30 minutes to one hours.

Carefully wash the maxixe, taking care not to break the spines. Dry with a clean cloth towel, then cut into quarters. Reserve.

In a large heavy sauce pan, preferably enameled cast iron, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the chopped onions. Fry, stirring from time to time until lightly browned. Add the chicken pieces, and brown them, turning them to assure browning on all sides.

Add up to 3 cups hot water to the sauce pan, just enough to cover most of the chicken pieces. Add the tomato paste, and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is almost done. Add the reserved maxixe and cook for an additional five minutes. Do not let the maxixe overcook or it will become mushy.

Remove from heat, stir in the chopped green onion and cilantro, and serve immediately.

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