March 21, 2011

Rice Cooker Caribbean-style Chicken Rice Pilau

1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
15 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
8 oz canned pigeon peas, drained
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Caribbean-style curry powder*
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper

about 1 1/3 cup jasmine rice (2 "slow cooker" cups)

1 to 24 hours before cooking, marinate the chicken with the spices, onion, garlic and peppers in a marinading container or resealable plastic bag. Then, heat the oil in a large pot. Saute the entire contents of the bag or container until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add the canned ingredients. Stir. Simmer for 35 minutes. Place the raw rice into the rice cooker. Strain all of the liquid out of the chicken mixture into a bowl. Pour into the rice cook. Add water or stock to reach the correct liquid level in the rice cooker. Top with the chicken mixture. Close the lid set to automatically cook (the "mixed rice" setting if possible). When the rice cooker is ready, stir the contents before serving.

Yield: about 4 servings

*Available at well-stocked grocery stores and spice shops. It is a mixture of ground coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, clove, bay leaf, fennel seed, ginger, cayenne, allspice and cardamom. There are also many recipes online to make your own.
My thoughts:
My husband has been using the rice cooker to make meals to take to work for years now. Since our trip to the Caribbean he has been making this particular dish nearly every week! He divides it up into separate containers and has it for lunch for several days. Now that he has perfected it, he suggested I share it with all of you. It is pretty quick and very easy to make. The rice cooker cooks the rice to perfection in the flavorful broth, making it a true pilau (pilaf). The gentle cooking of the rice means that the meat and vegetables do not become overcooked, just meltingly tender with their flavors well melded together.

Quick note: we made this in my wonderful Zojirushi Umami Micom Rice Cooker so I can really can only 100% vouch for the success of this recipe in this particular rice cooker. That said, I cannot imagine that it wouldn't work in another 5 1/2 cup rice cooker.