What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than a nice steaming pan of chicken biryani, washed down with glasses of cool crisp Pino Grigio?That's right - I am in no way no how Irish, and, despite the last name, neither is my husband. I'm about 75% Polish, and I don't celebrate St. Casimir's day, so why bother with St. Patrick's? Oh, because so many Americans use it as an excuse to drink cheap food-colored beer to excess? Ahhh, always a good reason. But, nope.
Biryani is an easy dish to make at home, and makes effective use of leftovers. I always have a jar of Patak's biryani paste in the fridge. I may have mentioned in previous posts how well it works as a marinade for pork tenderloin and leg of lamb, but it also works well in...biryani! Biryani is a rice dish popular in the Middle East and southern Asia; the version available in most Indian restaurants in the U.S. is probably the best-known.
We had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge, and a melange of fresh and frozen vegetables that needed to be used: a partial bag of frozen green beans; some chopped tomatoes left over from tacos earlier in the week; a handful of baby carrots, julienned; fresh asparagus; frozen peas. I chopped and sauteed a small onion and a handful of sliced mushrooms in a bit of olive oil. When they were softened, I added the carrots, green beans, and tomatoes, plus three tablespoonfuls of biryani paste. Meanwhile, I had some basmati rice in the rice cooker. When the rice was done, I added it to the biryani paste mixture, stirring well to coat each grain with the paste. Then I tossed in the peas, chicken, and asparagus (cut into small pieces) and covered the pan, warming it all on low heat. Delicious! And certainly tastier than corned beef and cabbage.