You know that infamous Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that was floating around the Internet some years back. Ok, 10 maybe 15 years back. I'm old ok? Some lady bought the recipe for some ridiculous price and sent it, via e-mail forward, to the entire free world to really stick it to Neiman Marcus. Well, I don't have that recipe. But I do have a really awesome "Raspberry Chicken" recipe. I used it in quotes because I didn't actually make the "raspberry" part. (For more about that read on.) And be forewarned, one should probably not BWP (Blog While Pissed).
Ok, so this is like two weeks of dinners that my 12-year-old has voiced his utter disgust at how utterly disgusting the dinner I made for our family is. And the really fantastic thing about 12-year-olds is the sheer intricate way in which they can describe their distaste. Wow, things were so much easier when he only knew "yuck" and would move on. But now I can get a whole 10-minute sermon that starts out with "this is the most awful dinner anyone was ever served" to "I wish I was an only child" (like his friend Nick who coincidentally got a new lego set today. Is the legoness as prized as the solitude though? I dare not ask.)
Now, we live in Africa without a lot of the foods my kids know and love. I work really hard, as I always have, to provide a healthy, diverse, homemade meal for my kids. I love to cook. I take pride in it. And there's a lot of love that goes into my meals. Dinner and being together and sharing our day is important to me. Probably way more important than I realized just 10 minutes ago. And my oldest is not my pickest eater. In fact, he's always been my adventurous eater. He likes things spicy. And he likes cabbage, beets, fresh fish and turnips like I do. But, he doesn't like potatoes, corn, or french fries! (How unAmerican is that? He should have his social security card revoked or something.) And now chicken.
Ok, I have enough trouble putting dinner on the table here. Morocco doesn't have pork products in the supermarket (we would eat pork at least every other week in the states), there is no edamame, there are no sugar snap peas. No American sweet potatoes, no baby spinach (thank god we now have spinach growing in our garden) and salmon...oh god salmon...how I've missed you. They do have it here, but it's expensive, so I save it for a sometimes treat. I make a mean salmon, goat cheese and corn quesadilla by the way. They are even better with this great sangria recipe I have. I could do an entire post listing all the foods we miss in alphabetical order, but I digress....
So seafood is expensive, lamb is well...lamby. Beef we have occassionally (it is halal meat and has all the blood drained out...and everyone knows bloody meat is better than bloodless beef). You can't get tofu or pig products here. So this leaves chicken. A lot of chicken. Yes, we eat a lot of chicken, ok? Don't judge me! I try to spice it up. I do! Really, I do! So tonight in an effort to "spice up the chicken" once again, I'm making Raspberry Chicken. Well...sort of. I'll get to that later. The recipe is out of the Peace Corps Morocco cookbook. A cookbook made by the volunteers for the volunteers. They contain ingredients that are locally grown and found "most" places throughout Morocco. Although having made a lot of these recipes I imagine a lot of ingredients would be difficult to find both in the mountains and the Sahara Desert, as Morocco is a country of vast geological differences. That again would be a whole other blog post.
So I'm excited to cook this recipe and explore my spectrum of international culinary skilz. But, I don't have the raspberry jam that the recipe calls for. But I do have "conficture de mures", which in French translates to that-fruit-that-is-kinda-like-blackberries-but-totally-not-blackberries-that-I-happen-to-have-bought-probably-by-accident-that-happens-to-be-in-my-cupboard. I'm pretty sure that that's the translation anyway. Oh, and it also calls for orange zest, but when I was shopping for oranges today they were moldy at the store. So the recipe is also sans o'range (said with a French accent s'il vous plait).
Ok, so here it is, the "Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe" of the chicken world as it appears in the Peace Corps handbook:
1/2 cup sweet red wine (Or really any freakin' wine you have. The closer, the better.)
1/2 c. vinegar (Or the shallot vinegar you use because you don't have just regular vinegar.)
1/2-1 cup raspberry jam (Or the Conficture fruits de mer....what the crap was it I had in the cupboard again? Again, I don't actually speak French.)
2 T. soy sauce (Oh my god, I have that. I really have that!!!)
1 t Dijon mustard (How is it that one can get dijon here from the exotic dijon plant only grown in France and yet not horserasdish? Discuss.)
1 clove garlic (How old should your garlic be before you don't use it anymore and just throw it out? Anyone?)
1 frying chicken, cut up into pieces (Or one tray of chicken breasts cut up already on the styrafoam tray so you don't have to talk to the guy behind the meat counter in French because you don't know how to ask for a cut up chicken a la francais.)
2-3 T honey (Or just the scant remnants of the honey bottle as that shit is expensive here in Africa.)
Strips of orange zest for garnish (Unless all oranges in the entire store are moldy...)
Mix all ingredients together except chicken and orange zest. Taste and adjust sweetness. Pour mixture over chicken and let it marinate at least 4 hours. (Unless you totally forget... then 20 minutes works.) Place chicken with the marinade in the pressure cooker and bring to a boil. (Unless you don't have a pressure cooker, then cook it in the oven at about 350 degrees Farenheit, I don't know I'm approximating from the 150 celcius I cooked mine at for about 45 minutes or until a kid starts fighting with another kid and you rememember oh my god I need to take the chicken out of the oven now.) Seal and cook for 12 mins. (By the way, what Peace Corps volunteer has a pressure cooker if I don't even have one I ask you?) Remove from heat and remove chicken from marinade. (I guess I have no comment for that one, just do it.) Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with orange zest. (Unless you don't have oranges because they were all moldy, you just have 4 grumpy children who are all moldy. Then just sprinkle with f()*&^%$ fairy dust and hope for the best....)
Ok, I added in all the parenthesis. But I am pissed. And my life includes a lot of parenthesis.
Now dare you even ask whether Sky liked the chicken? No. Don't. He's 12. He doesn't like anything. He has declared himself vegetarian. Except for bacon and beef jerky. No, I'm not kidding. I had to explain what "that arguement doesn't hold water" means and I explained that yes, cows and pigs are animals too. So if you want to be all sympathetic to the chickens you should also extend the courtesy of life to all the other animals in the animal kingdom. If you are indeed vegetarian believe me I will heep more brocoli on your plate than you have ever seen. By the end of our "discussion" (or more like my 10 minute rant about holding water and loving the whole rainbow of animal flavors) he truly understood what the term "holding water" means. I hope it's on the SATs. I'm fine with you being "vegetarian" and all. Just not a bacon loving vegetarian who doesn't want to eat my "Non-Raspberry, Raspberry Chicken" for no good reason that doesn't hold water.
And by the way, this is an amazing recipe. I dare you to try it on your kids. Two of mine loved it and so did Craig and I. And you know the rule. Majority rules, minority drools. I apologize for my overuse of parenthesis in this post. It's annoying and childish. Much like I'm feeling right now.
So, let all mothers everywhere who want to feed our kids healthy real food unite and share the Raspberry Chicken recipe far and wide. You know you want to. Unless you're a bacon loving vegetarian.