Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

Posted on: 21 March 2014 No comments

It would appear that good things and indeed quite often great things, can come to those who wait. Once upon a time in 1992, Stevie Wonder told the British soul singer Omar that they would one day work together. Some 14 tears later, that day arrived and they recorded Stevie’s Feeling You in London for Omar’s Sing if you want it album. Since then, Omar has made quite a marvelous habit of collaborating with other outstanding artists.

His latest long player The Man features guest appearances from The Scratch Professor and Soul II Soul’s vocalist, Caron Wheeler. But when I asked him of what exact highlight he has from all the other acts he’s been lucky enough to work with, he spoke about his time with the late, but very great Syreeta Wright. “she was my favourite female singer. When I heard her sing the song that I had written for us, I burst into tears.”

His touring schedule at the moment reads like a world travel mag. But during down time off the road, he cooks up an old family favourite. A Jamaican dish called Stew Chicken. If you need some Caribbean spice in your life, then we highly recommend it!

Omar

INGREDIENTS:

10 pieces of skinned chicken. Divide that up how you will between leg,
thigh and breast

The juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 decent chicken stock cube

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

100 ml of sunflower oil

3  thinly sliced spring onions

2 chopped mid sized onions

1 chopped Scotch bonnet chilli. Make sure to remove the seeds

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 red pepper, seeds removed, chopped

1 green pepper seeds removed, chopped

1 heaped tablespoon of butter

Cooked Basmati rice, to serve

METHOD:

Drop the chicken pieces in a big salad bowl and smother it in the
lemon juice. Then sprinkle with the salt, chicken stock cube and black
pepper. Using your hands, rub the seasonings in to give the meat a
good flavour, then cover and leave it in the fridge for 30
minutes minimum or overnight, if you have time. Heat the vegetable oil in a
large, deep flameproof casserole with a lid until really hot.

Remove the chicken from the seasoning, reserving the seasoning mix.
Add a few pieces of chicken to the oil and fry gently for about 5
minutes on each side until the chicken is browned. Don’t overcrowd the
pan as they won’t cook colour properly.

With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the casserole and repeat
with the remaining chicken pieces. Carefully pour out most of the oil,
leaving just 2 spoonfuls in the casserole.

Add the spring onions, onions, chilli, garlic and peppers and stir
briefly to take out the crunch from them. Return the chicken to the
casserole with any reserved seasoning mixture. Pour in a half a litre
of water, add the butter, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced to a rich
sauce and the chicken is cooked through.

Omar plays The Sugar Club on March 28th

HERMITAGE GREEN’S SWEET POTATO CURRY

Posted on: 21 February 2014 No comments

There are certain deeds and actions that a band can do to earn themselves extra themselves extra privileges. Such as putting the name of a venue into your album title.  Limerick lads Hermitage Green have recently done such a thing. Their most recent recording, “Live at Whelan’s” has ensured that all five band members are now allowed special “lock in” rights.  And I can’t deny or confirm this next statement but apparently, “The Whelans are calling their first born Hermitage and everything.”

2013 was a breakthrough year for these cheeky chappies. Their performance at the Electric Picnic was witnessed by 6,000 and garnered them huge praise and an extra gazillion hits on their YouTube channel.  Then in the latter half of the year they did a UK tour with The Pogues. All systems are go at the moment as they gig round the country with a grand finale in The Academy on February 27th. After that Dublin show they’re travelling  to Canada for more shows before hitting the studio in Nashville to get some recording down. That would appear to be a great city to help them hone their strong acoustic sound.

Vocalist Dan is very keen on Indian Food since he found himself there on a long break. It’s where he picked this here sweet potato recipe he’s shared with us.   But it wasn’t all curry fueled fun and games in Asia. “I spent some time in a National Park staying in a jungle lodge. There was absolutely no electricity or contact with the outside world. Whilst there I drank a can of cider that had been left in the sun for nearly an hour. Horrific.” I hope he received some counseling.

Hermitage.

INGREDIENTS:

2 large sweet potatoes, sliced evenly

1 large Spanish onions, chopped

1 bag of baby spinach, washed
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1  can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
250 ml  water
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

Basmati rice to serve

METHOD:

Heat your oven to 180 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and roast them for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
As the sweet potatoes cook, heat the oil over medium heat in a pot.
Throw in the onions and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until they turn clearer in colour.
Next, drop in all the spices and stir to coat the onions evenly with spices.
Add tomatoes and the chickpeas, stir to combine.
Drop the water in and raise the heat up to a strong simmer for about a minute or two.
Next, add the fresh spinach, a couple handfuls at a time, stirring to
coat with cooking liquid.
When all the spinach is added to the pan, cover and simmer until just
wilted. It will only take a couple of minutes.
Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the liquid, and stir to coat.
Simmer for another 3-5 minutes, or until flavors are well combined.
Transfer to serving dish, toss with fresh coriander, and serve hot with basmati rice.

This piece is also available to read in The Ticket with The Irish Times.

The Mighty Stef’s Loobio Pollo

Posted on: 24 January 2014 No comments

With his growling, guttural voice and lyrics that take in both the local and universal, it is quite plain to see why Stefan Murphy is regarded as one of Dublin’s treasures of the music scene. As the chief troubadour for The Mighty Stef, he brings a great depth to the band’s four piece sonic richness. Ahead of their biggest headliner to date, Stefan filled me in on working with producer superstar Alain Johannes, who was at the helm for their latest EP.

“He told tales of doing DIY with PJ Harvey, being taken to the Grammys as Gwen Stefani’s date, his misadventures with Queens Of The Stone Age and a million other names casually dropped but in a very endearing and entertaining fashion. We seriously loved it.”

Mr. Murphy is also happy to take direction in other aspects of his life, such as the kitchen. His Iranian wife Leyla has schooled him in the ways of Persian cooking and this meat and rice dish is now a staple of his. No prizes to see where the rest of the band will be headed after their Whelan’s show…

Mighty.Stef

LOOBIO POLLO

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound mince beef

1.5 Spanish onions finely chopped

1 Clove of minced Garlic

1 bag frozen string beans

Spice list: cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, pinch of saffron

1 tin tomato puree

3 cups long grain, rinsed basmati rice

METHOD:

Fry the onions and turmeric until golden brown. Add mince beef and cook till browned.  Add garlic, string beans, and a tea spoon each of salt, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon.  Stir together and cook for 5 minutes.  Then add the tin of tomato puree and stir through.  Cook on low heat until beans become soft.

Boil some water in a kettle and mix some grains of saffron with a small bit of boiling water in a cup. To prepare the rice, bring a large pot that has a tight fitting lid with water to boil.

When water comes to a boil, add the rice.  Allow the rice to boil at a high temperature uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the rice, clear the pot and add some oil and water.  Take half the rice and pour it into the pot and spread it around so the pot is covered. Then drop in your meat mixture and spread equally over the first layer of rice. Then add the remaining rice over the meat mixture and spread evenly over top. Poke two holes down into the rice/meat mixture with the handle of a fork.  Take the saffron mixture and pour over the top of the rice and down into the holes.  Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.  Cook on a high heat for 2 minutes, then turn down the temperature to a low heat.  Cook on a low heat for 40 minutes.

The crispy rice at bottom of pot is called “Tadic” and should be placed on top when serving.

The Mighty Stef play Whelan’s on January 31st. Their EP ‘Nightwatchman Of The Iveagh Flats’ is out now.

This piece is also available to read in the far more reputable, Irish Times.

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