If you’ve been buried for the past week, you may have missed Mouth of the Border’s third Midnight Brunch on 11/11/11. Here’s the photo recap.
As with every event, there were some crowd favorites on the menu. This time, though, there were several small plates served and, therefore, a few more crowd pleasers.
We don’t want to leave our guests hanging when it comes to preparing these dishes at home, so here’s one original recipe from the menu along with links out to the other favorites. Make one or all of these over the next few weeks; the spices they share in common make them perfect comfort dishes for a proper winter meal.
The first recipe here is one my friend Omarr taught me right when I was starting this website. He’s Jamaican and had made this dozens of times in his life before he patiently taught me. He uses the basic proportions below for curry everything, so if you want to mix it up or don’t like chicken, feel free to use stew beef, goat or even turkey.
Omarr’s Curry Chicken
- 1 3-lb. chicken, whole or broken down into parts (bone-in is a must, as the bones help keep chicken juicy)
- White vinegar or juice of 2 lemons
- 3-4 Tbsp Jamaican curry powder (I recommend Grace or Blue Mountain brands)
- 1 chopped yellow onion and/or onion powder
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced and/or garlic powder
- 1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (seeds removed, chopped finely) or 1 Tbsp habanero hot sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 3/4 cup neutral cooking oil (vegetable or canola is best)
- Break down chicken into equal-sized parts (i.e., cut large breasts and thighs in half), keeping the bones in. Remove the skin if desired (I keep it on during cooking to help reserve the natural juices). Rinse chicken with water and then with the vinegar or lemon juice.
- Drain chicken well and pat dry. Transfer chicken to a glass casserole dish or large resealable plastic bag.
- In a separate bowl, mix all other ingredients except for the cooking oil. Add salt to mixture last, to taste.
- Add herb mixture to chicken and mix to coat well. Marinate, refrigerated, at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- When ready to proceed, remove chicken from refrigerator and let rest in its container for 15 minutes to allow meat to come to room temperature.
- In the meantime, in a large, deep-sided skillet or Dutch oven, heat 3-4 Tbsp. cooking oil over medium-high heat.
- After shaking off marinade, add individual pieces of chicken to skillet, being careful not to crowd the pan. Reserve marinade.
- Add 3/4 cup of water to reserved marinade and mix well. Add this marinade by the spoonful to skillet in the spaces between chicken pieces, adding just enough to prevent chicken from sticking to skillet. Do not overflow skillet. Continue adding marinade, switching to plain water if necessary.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, checking chicken every 15 minutes to make sure it isn’t sticking to skillet.
- If serving with rice and peas or spinner dumplings (see below), prep these items.
- Let cook 40-50 minutes total, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through and fork-tender. If unsure whether chicken is done, be sure it’s no longer pink in the center and use an instant read thermometer. The chicken should be at 170 degrees when fully cooked.
This dish is usually served with dumplings or rice and beans (called “rice and peas” by West Indians). A quick and simple recipe for dumplings is below. You throw them into the chicken mixture during the last 15 minutes of cooking, and they cook in the rich, savory broth.
For the Dumplings …
- 2 cups flour
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Sift the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the water 3 teaspoons at a time, just enough to bring the dough together with a firm consistency. Adding too much water at one time will cause dough to get overly sticky.
- Knead dough for about five minutes. Knead to the point where it’s just mixed and a consistent moisture throughout. It should not be sticky, nor should it be dry and flaky.
- If dough becomes dry, add a little more water to mixture and knead to incorporate. If too sticky, lightly flour your mixture and knead until it approaches the right consistency.
- Roll small pieces of dough between palms into a pen shape.
- During the last 15 minutes of cooking the curry chicken, place the dumplings, uncrowded, into the skillet with chicken, tucking them into pools of broth.
But wait! More popular dishes from Midnight Brunch are below!
Midnight Brunch Meatballs, by guest chef Raquel Pelzel. We served these during cocktail hour. They were far and away the hit of the night. For another twist on these, check out Raquel’s Imperfectly Perfect Meatballs.
Persian Jeweled Rice with Apricots and Pistachios, recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart (This recipe is a lovely presentation dish for a small group. Since I was cooking for 30, I cooked this up in my giant cast-iron lasagna dish and we served it with Raquel’s lamb vindaloo).
Please enjoy these. Hopefully, you’ll love these bites as much as our guests did!
I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing.