Winter in Austin is more a state of mind than a weather event but yet every year I am struck with the urge to nourish my family with hearty stews and roasted foods. And this desire always brings me back to one of my favorite cookbooks: Extending the Table… A World Community Cookbook. Years ago I found this cookbook at Ten Thousand Villages (if you don’t know this fair trade store, you need to). This book is full of “recipes and stories of people around the world, many of them living with few material resources yet it provides repeated opportunities to take part in their lives and delight in the wealth they have to offer”. The idea that we become changed as we treat the traditions of others with respect and tenderness seems all the more poignant in today’s climate. When I serve my family the dishes from this cookbook I am reminded of the global connection of food and family and send wishes to all that they may enjoy an extended table.
Here is my all-time favorite recipe from this cookbook. I cook it often enough that the book automatically opens to the page.
Saudi Chicken Stew
- 3 c. cooked long-grain rice (about 1c. uncooked)
Simmer 25 minutes:
- 2.5-3 lb. chicken, skinned and cut in pieces
- 1 qt. water
- 1 t. salt or to taste
- pepper to taste
Remove chicken from broth and set aside. Skim fat, strain broth (optional – I don’t strain it), and reserve.
Heat in large saucepan or dutch oven with tight fitting lid:
- 3 T. butter or oil
Add and sauté:
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
Push onions to the side and sauté on medium heat about 10 minutes until browned:
- 6-8 carrots, thinly sliced
Mix in bowl:
- Cooked rice
- 2-inch stick cinnamon or 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 t. whole cardamom pods or ¾ t. ground cardamom
- 6 whole cloves or ½ t. ground cloves
Lay pieces of cooked chicken evenly over sautéed vegetables. Cover with rice-and-spice mixture.
Pour over rice:
- 2 c. tomato juice
- 2 c. reserved chicken broth
*Whole spices give a better flavor and color to this stew than ground spices, although stew is tasty both ways. Remove whole spices just before serving or while eating.