Monday, May 7, 2012

Live Beyond

A few weeks ago, during my time off I had the pleasure of attending a fundraiser for a local organization called MMDR. This organization is led by a couple from our church and they provide medical support to areas around the world that have suffered various tragedies. Their work in Haiti has gained world wide recognition and they are currently in the process of building a "Live Beyond" base in Haiti that will have a hospital, school, orphanage...just about everything you can think of. Their work is life changing and so self sacrificing. I am so blessed to know them and support them in this effort. If you are interested, please check out and learn about how you too can help them.
Back to the fundraiser. The meal for the evening was similar to a meal you would have in Haiti (if you had money!) and it included a chicken dish, rice and beans and a coconut banana dessert and was all served on metal pie plates. Not gonna lie, the food didn't hit my spot that night but it was all for a good cause so who cared! Soon after I came across a recipe that reminded me of the dinner and decided to add a few things to spruce it up. It quickly became a very memorable meal for me with it's earthy sweet undertones, bit of heat and bright flavors and I know that every time I make this meal I will be reminded of a beautiful night, a beautiful family, a beautiful country in desperate need and a beautiful God who will never leave nor abandon us.

Haitian Chicken with Coconut Lime Rice and Red Beans

1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves diced
6 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
 Juice of 3 limes (Zest 2 of the times and save the 3rd limes shell for the rice)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp honey

Saute the onions, celery and carrots into a large dutch oven in 2 Tbsp of olive oil and a slash of salt until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. The salt helps the veggies start to sweat and speeds up the process.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir. Cover the dish with a lid and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, tilt the lid of the pot to allow some of steam to come out and the sauce to thicken and allow it to cook for 45 minutes more on low heat.

During the last 20 minutes of the chicken cooking, prepare the following...
2 cups basmati or brown fast cooking rice (should cook in about 20 minutes, NOT instant)
1 15 oz can lite coconut milk- not cream of coconut. This will not be sweet.
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sugar
Lime zest and lime shell
Combine all of the above in a large pan with a lid (you want to minimally stir rice so it is best to cook it in a large pot so it doesn't get gummy) Cook according to the package directions (typically about 20 minutes).

10 minutes into cooking ADD one can of thoroughly rinsed red beans. Place the lid back on the pot and continue cooking.

Just before serving remove the lime shell and add the following...
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 green onion bundles diced
Stir until combined. Taste to see if any extra seasoning needs to be added.

For serving, place a spoonful of the rice and beans on the plate. Place a chicken breast on top and spoon extra sauce over the top. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge, fresh chopped cilantro, avocado chunks and toasted coconut.

Enjoy Y'all!

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