Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Holiday Meal

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.

Happy Mid-March!

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