Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RECIPE - Chicken Cabidela (Galinha de Cabidela Cearense) REPOST

(Please click here to read about this series of reposts of original posts from May 24, 2010 to June 12, 2010)

This traditional and well-loved dish from the semi-arid scrubland of the interior of the state of Ceará,an area known as the "sertão", is an example of how settlers of that inhospitable region turned necessity into a virtue by creating a dish that used everything possible from a slaughtered backyard chicken. Only the head and the feathers are missing from the list of ingredients - one of the most important of which being the blood of the bird. (Click here to read an earlier post about blood as a culinary ingredient in Brazilian cuisine.)

Today Chicken Cabidela is served not only in the mud and stick houses of subsistance ranchers in the interior, it's featured on the menu of fine restaurants and served at buffets in cities and towns of Ceará. Alongside any highway in the state you'll see homemade signs advertising "the best Galinha de Cabidela in Ceará just ahead", or "Our speciality - Galinha de Cabidela." If you stopped to sample all the Galinha de Cabidela on offer, you would never reach your destination.
RECIPE - Chicken Cabidela
Serves 4

1 large roasting chicken - 3.5 lbs. (1.5 kgs) - cut into serving pieces
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. annatto powder (or substitute sweet paprika)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
2 chopped large tomatoes
1 chopped and seeded green bell pepper
2 chopped medium onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onion, green portion only
1 cup chicken blood (with 2 Tbsp. vinegar added to prevent coagulation)
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
 Season the chicken pieces with the salt, annatto (or paprika) and pepper to taste. Place chicken in large heavy saucepan, add just enough water to cover, bring to boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is just tender but not falling off the bone. Remove from heat and reserve.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan, add the tomatoes, green pepper, onions, cilantro, green onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Do not let the onions and garlic brown.

In the large sauce pan, combine the sauteed vegetables with the reserved chicken and broth. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the broth and reserve. Continue to cook the broth over medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until it slightly reduces and thickens into a sauce.

Reduce heat to low, add the chicken blood to the sauce, and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch with the egg yolk, lightly beaten. Off heat, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce to prevent lumps, stirring constantly. Return the sauce to heat briefly to thicken and to remove starchy taste. Then add the reserved chicken pieces, heat thoroughly and serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

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