Where did our holiday season go? I swear to goodness it was just last week I was booking my first trip to Napa, long before Thanksgivng, yet here we are, well in to the first week of the year. I can’t even wrap my head around what was supposed to happen during our most celebrated holiday. Though, traditionally speaking, Christmas Day came and went, my familia did the entire 12 days of Christmas in full fashion. Most Latin homes celebrated the Epiphany, or Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) on January 6th. That meant a tremendous amount of cooking and eating. Lots of family gatherings and outings. It’s always really quite special, ending with a lovely dinner on the 6th.
We tend to eat a lot red meat and normally it’s wholly acceptable. I decided to break that trend, much to my Mother’s dismay (she and all her glorious affair with carne asada) and offer up come pollo this year, mostly inspired by the success and consenting thumbs up I got from the celeb guests on the Hallmark Channel‘s daily talk show “Home and Family” when I cooked this very dish on New Year’s Eve!
Chicken is often cooked very simply, but there are so many fantastic ways to play with every piece of the bird. Thighs are my favorite piece for their juiciness. The herbal aromas and brightness in this dish prove that chicken is a wonderful base for infusing unique flavors. You can make this a bit more savory by adding one additional teaspoon of soy sauce. As a slight variation, I love charring lightly some of the oranges. It makes the dish pop both in taste and visual appeal in a new way. And, of course, to give a more Latin touch, throw in a packet of sazón (the one without achiote). It’ll intensify the flavors a bit more without altering the taste. If you do, simply reduce the salt by about 1/4 teaspoon.
The trick to making this dish a super success is cooking it in the pressure cooker. Traditionally, this dish, though wildly simple, can easily take you anywhere from 30-45 minutes. That’s reasonable unless you’re getting home from work, super tired, have a hungry husband and two kids cook for; not to mention the unplanned visit by your Mami or sister. You have to offer them dinner, too! And in this case, for the holidays, wherein I had to crank out enough food for 25 people… the pressure cooker saved me some much-needed time. A pot enough for 8 cooks in just 17 minutes. Totally winning! That time-savings will remind you how much you enjoy entertaining your guests and not going crazy in the kitchen.
In my new book, “Modern Pressure Cooking“, I teach you how to use modern cookers, both stovetop and electric, where you’ll save a crazy amount of time on so many foods you’re already cooking. I’d rather you be entertaining and toasting with your friends and not slaving in the cocina. The pressure cooker allows you to do that. As I say, hit it and quit it; at least in the electric ones, where you don’t really need to know or understand pressure cooking. This chicken dish is in the book, with this very gorgeous picture, is done in 22 minutes in the electric cooker and a mindless 17 in a stovetop cooker. Those are the kinds of gifts I’m trying to gift you: time! And delicious food, of course.
Do something different this year. Explore different meats and proteins and enjoy new flavors. Your palate and friends will love you for the new experience.
I invite you to pick up my new cookbook and fall in love with pressure cooking… and saving time… and energy… and eating healthier. It’s really all of that. This recipe and over 100 others will change your kitchen and cooking experience. Guaranteed. Available now in Barnes & Noble stores, nationwide, or online at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com and other online retailers. Find more info here and happy cooking!
Happy New Year!
Aromatic and Bright Orange Ginger Chicken from “Modern Pressure Cooking”
Serves 6 to 8
- 8 chicken thighs, skin on half
- 7 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp (18 g) sea salt
- 1 tsp (2 g) whole coriander seeds
- 1 tsp (2.5 g) dried cumin
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 navel oranges, cut into wedges
- ¼ cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp (8 g) grated fresh ginger
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) low-sodium soy sauce
- Few sprigs cilantro, for garnish
Place the chicken on a large baking sheet. Add the garlic to a mortar and mash, using the pestle. Add the salt, coriander, cumin and pepper. Grind and stir with the pestle until the garlic and dried spices are well-blended. Rub all of the chicken with the garlic mixture, covering every piece of chicken very generously. Squeeze 2 orange wedges all over the chicken. If you have time, cover and chill for 30 minutes, to allow all of the flavors to marinate well. Otherwise continue cooking.
Heat the oil in the stovetop pressure cooker over medium-high or use the browning setting for the electric pressure cooker. Transfer the chicken to the cooker, using tongs. Brown on all sides until all of the pieces are lightly golden, about 4 minutes. If your cooker is small or narrow, do this in two batches. Add the bay leaf, ginger, cloves, white wine and 2 or 3 additional orange wedges, giving them a hard squeeze. Cancel cooking for the electric cooker, and close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and set your timer for 17 minutes total. Cook on high heat until the pressure point is reached, then reduce the heat to medium to finish cooking.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 20–22 minutes.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and release the pressure, using auto-release. When all of the pressure is out, transfer the chicken to your serving platter, leaving the pot juice in the cooker. Discard the orange wedges from the cooker. Stir in the soy sauce. Bring the pot juice to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, about 5 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce just a bit. Ladle the sauce over the chicken and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and the remaining orange wedges.