Sunday, June 6, 2010

Food Fest Finale

There are some dishes that become favorites in every family. In ours, one of these dishes is Chicken Pineapple. For a while, Bella requested this dish on every special occasion. It is still a favorite family meal.

When my cousin Cole and I were doing menu planning during our recent stay, we needed another dinner dish. This one came to mind. It has fabulous flavor, can be prepped ahead of time, and takes about 20 minutes to finish. It also had some techniques I wanted to teach Cole, building on what we had already been working on, which meant that it fit nicely with the on-going cooking lesson theme of our visit. It also meant we were back to chicken! The ingredients for Chicken Pineapple were added to the grocery list for our Power Shop, and off we went. The dish was a huge hit, and a nice addition to Cole's repertoire. It was also the finale of our weekend food fest!

Several weeks ago, Cole left a message on the answering machine asking about Chicken Pineapple. She had checked the blog, but the recipe wasn’t there. Life had been zooming along and although I’d begun the post, had not been able to finish it. I was delighted Cole was making this dish again, and so soon, too! Now several more weeks have passed and finally!!! Here it is the incredible, edible Chicken Pineapple.









Chicken Pineapple

4 Tbsp. canola oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 2” piece of fresh ginger

1 fresh, ripe pineapple

3 large carrots, peeled

2 stalks celery

1 green pepper, seeded

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

¼ c. water

Kosher salt

Rice:

2 c. white rice

4 c. water

To prepare the pineapple:

Hold the pineapple firmly and twist off the leaves.






Place the pineapple of a cutting board and cut off the ends.



It is time to cut away the skin.

Stand the pineapple on its bottom. Select a long, very sharp knife. Cut the skin away following the contour of the pineapple. For the second cut, use the "eyes" as a guide.





Continue cutting carefully and cleanly, continuing to follow the contours of the pineapple until all the peel has been removed.




Stand the pineapple on it's bottom. Cut it in half right through the core.




Cut each half in half length-wise creating four quarters. Cut the core from each quarter by standing it on end, grasping it firmly with your finger tips and cut downwards just and the edge of the core. Set the cores aside for eating later or nibble on them while you prepare the dish.


Cut each quarter in half length-wise.







Cut each of the eight spears of pineapple into one inch pieces.







Place the pineapple pieces in a bowl and cover them with 2 cups of water. Set aside and let set for at least 20 minutes and several hours in the refrigerator, if possible.



Make the rice: Place rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Meanwhile....

To finish the dish, remove pineapple from the refrigerator, drain liquid into 2 cup measure. Set the pineapple and liquid aside. Have 4 small bowls at the ready.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes and place in a small bowl. Peel the ginger and slice and place with the chicken.




Slice the carrots and the celery on the diagonal into pieces about ½ inch thick, and place in another small bowl. Slice green pepper, and place in a small bowl. In the 4th bowl, mix the cornstarch and ¼ c. water, set aside.

Place a wok or large, heavy skillet on the stove. Turn the burner to high and add the oil.

Add the chicken and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the pineapple. Add enough liquid to make 2 cups and add to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes.




Add the peppers and stir them in. Give the the cornstarch and water mixture a good stir and add to the wok. Cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened and the peppers are crisp tender.

Serve immediately with the rice.

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