My husband and I took a lucky short break to Miami recently. Well, more accurately, I took a break and he worked his butt off at a conference, etc.
From the moment the doors of the plane opened and that hot, humid air rushed in, my shoulders dropped about two inches from my ears. For a former-sea-level living girl, coming down that mile in the sky and being able to breathe is a pretty amazing thing. While in town, I took a pretty dreamy yoga class taught by a sweet, hot (I could think of no other word) woman with a not-so-subtle Spanish accent. She repeatedly reminded us in class to "enjoy the breath"...she had no idea.
For those of you who don't know me, I love Miami. I always have and I always will despite the fact that it's way flashier, faster, shallower...let's just leave it at not exactly as charming as it once. BUT but but you can still find pockets of bliss. The best news is that wide, gorgeous white sand beach is still there, as are the fantastic Art Deco buildings, palm trees and some really, really great food.
I'm not talking about any of the places on Ocean Drive or Lincoln Road with people pushing plastic food displays. No, I'm talking about little neighborhood places tucked away like Sardinia. Or the ubiquitous counters selling cafecito and Cuban sandwiches. Or the ever lucious Icebox for a little coconut cake. I could go on (and on) but I think you came for the recipe.
No surprise that back in the (albeit gorgeous) frozen tundra that I call home, I needed a little of that Miami heat in my kitchen. Early in my cooking life, I became obsessed with all things Latin American and Caribbean. The flavors are totally transportive, no doubt, so I encourage you to invite a little heat in and, well, enjoy the breath while you are at it.
lime and chili roasted chicken with mango salsa, black beans and cilantro-ginger rice
1 T each of lime zest, ancho chili and chipotle powder (or double the ancho and leave out the chipotle if you want less heat)
1 3-4 lb whole organic chicken
Preheat oven to 425°
Truss your chicken and rub it with olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and then dust the entire chicken with your spice mix. Roast until done. For more detailed instructions on how to roast a chicken, please see this.
For the beans:
1 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, diced,
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, peeled and diced
1 thick-cut piece of bacon, diced
1 T butter
2 t olive oil
2 t toasted and ground cumin seeds
5-6 c chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook the bacon until slightly crisp. Add the butter and olive oil and stir until the butter melts. Add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until they have some color.
Add the (drained) beans, cumin, some salt and pepper and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil and skim off any "scum" that floats to the top. Turn down the heat to simmer and cook until beans are done, about 2 hours, storing occasionally and covering with more stock to keep bean submerged.
Season with salt and pepper before serving.
For the salsa:
1 large, ripe mango, diced
1/4 c diced onion
1 large jalapeño, diced
2 T cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
splash of pineapple-coconut juice (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the above together and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to come together.
For the rice:
3 c cooked short or long-grain rice
for the dressing:
1 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
1/8 c diced scallions
1/4 c olive oil
1 T minced ginger
2 T toasted sesame oil
3-4 T rice vinegar
salt to taste
Mix the rice with the dressing and serve warm.
For the pineapple-coconut gastrique: (OPTIONAL)
Take about 1/2 cup of pineapple-coconut juice, two small rounds of ginger and a squeeze of lime juice in a saucepan and reduce over low heat to a syrup-like consistency. Remove the ginger before serving.
Drizzle over chicken
I realize that there are many components to this meal, (there are also some GREAT leftovers, too) so let me help with the game plan:
- The night before, soak the beans and maybe throw together the mango salsa.
- 2 1/2 hours before you want to serve dinner, start the beans and prepare your chicken.
- About 2 hours before dinner, put your chicken in the oven.
- While the beans and chicken are cooking, you can make the dressing for the rice and maybe some salad dressing while the blender is out. Make your mango salsa if you haven't already.
- About 45 minutes before dinner, cook your rice. While the rice is cooking, make your gastrique.
- The beans are done, the chicken is resting, pull out your salsa from the fridge, toss the rice with the dressing, maybe put together a salad (i served mixed greens with blood orange, avocado and pepitas with a simple lime vinaigrette) and done. You are a star!