Flying South: Chilean wine, Arroz con Pollo, Sambazon Acai
GourmetGrrl.com: Food with ‘tude
February 16, 2005
This week we’re being like birds and heading south – waaaay south, to Latin America.
GourmetGrrl, aka Laura Holmes
Grrl with Corkscrew
Red Hot Chile Grabbing a bottle from the $10 and under bin? Then reach for something Chilean. You have some choices: Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay are the most common Chilean varietals available. Carmenère (car-men-YEHR), a red Bordeaux varietal, has become the signature grape of Chile and tastes like a cross between Merlot and Zinfandel: velvety and herbacious with a hint of spice. In a blend or on its own, add Carmenère to your “to do” list. Syrah is the Next Big Thing on the Chilean wine scene and it’s worth trying a bottle. White wine lovers will adore the clean, crisp whites – most have very little oak.
Don’t be surprised if you see a few Chilean reds for $50 or more; these “Super Chileans” are the best of the best. For more down-to-earth bottles, look for these producers: Santa Rita, Luis Felipe Edwards, Echeverria, Cousino-Macul, Canepa, Concha y Toro, Casa Lapostolle, and Montes. Just pronouncing the wines is guaranteed to make you feel adventurous.
Grrl with Knife
Pollo Delicioso Speaking of birds, nothing tastes better with Chilean wine than chicken and rice. Turn on the oven, turn up the stereo, and you’ll soon be living la vida loca.
ARROZ CON POLLO
For the chicken:
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the rice:
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 bay leaf
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, including juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)
1/2 cup small or medium pimiento-stuffed green olives, rinsed
1. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the garlic, orange juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper over them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Transfer chicken to paper towels, letting excess marinade drip back into the bowl. Pat dry. Reserve the marinade.
3. Heat oil and butter in 6- to 7-quart heavy, oven-proof pot over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Brown the chicken in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.
4. Place oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.
5. Sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic in the chicken pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
6. While vegetables cook, place saffron in a bowl with the wine.
7. Add cumin and salt to vegetables and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in saffron mixture, bay leaf, tomatoes (including juice), broth, water, and reserved marinade and bring to a boil.
8. Add all chicken except breast pieces, skin sides up, and gently simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in rice and then add breast pieces. Arrange chicken in one layer and return to a simmer.
9. Cover pot tightly and then transfer to oven. Bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
10. Scatter peas and olives over rice and chicken (do not stir) and let stand, covered with a kitchen towel, until peas are heated through and any remaining liquid is absorbed by rice, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and serve.
Brain Food Is your brain feeling especially fuzzy these days? Try a Sambazon Açai Smoothie, made with açai (ah-SIGH-ee), the seed of the wild palmberry fruit found only in Brazilian rainforests. This power-berry (which tastes like chocolate and raspberries) has been the favorite of extreme athletes for years. And with good reason: açai is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, and essential omegas (those good-for-you fatty acids). Açai pulp also contains 10-30 times the anthocyanins (purple-colored antioxidants) found in red wine.
The smoothies come in four fruity flavors to satisfy your picky palate, or buy their frozen fruit packs and whip up your own concoctions. (Besides helping yourself, you’re supporting a good cause: locals earn more harvesting açai than they do clear-cutting the Amazon rainforests.) Look for Sambazon products at Whole Foods or go to the Sambazon website for a list of retailers.
Duck, Duck, Goose If you’ve got game – food game, that is – don’t miss the Duckathlon, a foodie trivia game that will test your knowledge of the gourmet world, sponsored by our favorite French food purveyor in New York, D’Artagnan.
On Saturday, February 26, restaurants and businesses in the Meatpacking district will play host to packs of roving foodies. You and three teammates will be quizzed on your knowledge of food and gastronomy. Collect points for successfully completing tasks at 20 pre-determined “Duckstops” and the top three teams with the most points win prizes. (Awards will also be given for best costumes and for the best team name, so get creative.) The registration fee is $20 per team member; for more information click on the link below.