Tasty treasures from America's Deep South
This week's dish, prepared by colourful chef Salvatore Silvestrino, from the Movenpick, Deira, is a rare treat.
The Italian-born chef, who speaks with a gentle Australian accent from time spent in Adelaide, has experience of cuisine from around the world. It is no surprise, then, that he chose an exciting dish to cook for us - a Louisiana hotpot and shrimp swamp rice.
The recipe is inspired by his time in the Deep South of the US, where he learned to perfect creole food. He says that although Louisiana and New Orleans may be a world away from the UAE, the cuisine still has recognisable elements for local palates.
“The thing I like about this dish is that even though the inspiration is from Louisiana, it has an element of Arabic in it and Indian as well,” says Chef Salvatore.
“The rice is there and the chicken and even a little bit of spiciness, all flavours that people here will recognise.”
Louisiana hotpot and shrimp swamp rice (6 pax)
>> 1500g whole chicken cut into large pieces, washed and patted dry
>> 2 medium-sized brown onions
>> 4 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
>> 4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
>> 1 green pepper, seeded, rinsed and cut into strips
Creole Marinade for basting the chicken
>> 100ml of white vinegar
>> 80g rich tomato paste
>> 1 large onion, roughly chopped
>> A good pinch of salt
>> 20g dried garlic
>> 10g sugar
>> 10g fresh red chili
>> Herbs and dried parsley
>> 60ml corn oil
Ingredients for the rice
>> 3 cups of rice
>> 50g beef pepperoni
>> 250g shrimps cleaned and deveined
>> 50g green peas
>> 10g Cajun spices
>> 10g garlic
Step 1 - Marinade with care
Heat the oil in a saucepan then add the onion, garlic and chili and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste, herbs and cook for a further three to four minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer for a further three to four minutes. Let the marinade cool then place in a blender and pulse until smooth. The key to perfecting the taste of this dish is paying careful attention to how you treat the ingredients, says Chef Salvatore.
“Make sure that when you fry your ingredients, you don’t burn your garlic or onion because you want subtle flavours. “There’s a lot combined that can give you a really fantastic finish but burn the garlic or the tomato and you’ll get a bitter taste.”
Step 2 - Don’t chicken out
Now cook the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour three-quarters of the marinade over it, toss well to ensure all is coated, place the chicken in the cooking pot. If you have a clay pot or tajine you use that. Arrange the vegetables around the chicken and cook, with the lid closed, in the oven at 175C for about an hour.
Step 3 - The rice is right
Place three cups of rice in a small pot with five cups of water and begin cooking. Combine butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant, Then add pepperoni, sauté for two minutes, add the shrimps and cook for five minutes, or until the shrimps turn pink and are cooked through. Stir in the green peas and cooked rice. Heat through then serve with the chicken hotpot.