Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Florida Food Fest: Pilau ... AND I Find My Missing Mojo

(nose courtesy of Flounder)
Can you smell it?
It's Pilau.
Let's get the correct pronouncification out of the way first. It's pronounced "Per-low"
Not "Pee-low", Pee-lo, or "Pee-lau".
Got it?

Sausage Pilau and Kentucky Wonder pole beans ... not my Aunt Shelba's, but pretty good anyhow.
That's sausage pilau in the picture, but I'm gonna share the chicken pilau recipe, because it's my favorite and it's the basis for a handful of variations.
There's seafood pilau, sausage pilau, chicken pilau, shrimp seafood pilau, pork neckbone pilau ... it goes on and on.
Basic St. Augustine Minorcan Chicken Pilau
2 fryers
4 stalks celery
1 onion whole
2 chopped onions
3 cups rice
2 cans tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme
` tblsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
2 datil peppers
6 cups chicken broth
Stew chicken with cut up celery and 1 onion, salt and pepper. Simmer until tender. Strip chicken from bones.
In a heavy cast iron dutch oven, add about 2 tblspn of oil, brown the chopped onions, when light brown add tomatoes, sugar, salt, and thyme. Mash tomatoes with spoon, cook until bubbly, then reduce heat, cook until liquid is reduced and mixture looks brown and thick like paste (be patient).
Then add 2 tblsp of water and cook til liquid is reduced again.
Go ahead and turn on your oven, preheat to 500 F.
Add rice to tomato paste mixture, add chicken, datil peppers, and chicken broth.
Cover the dutch oven and place in oven for 5 minutes at 500 degrees. After 5 minutes turn off the oven and let it sit for 1.5 hours.
When you eat pilau, it's traditional, but not required, to sprinkle datil pepper vinegar over it on your plate.
Datil pepper vinegar is made by stuffing fresh datils into any old bottle and covering it with vinegar for a few months.
And now for the missing Mojo:
Last week, I posted our Cubaterranean meal and a number of you requested the recipe for the Mojo chicken. Some even attempted to wing it and were faced with disappointing results. I couldn't help you at the time, because I did not (for once) do the cooking.
Today, I cornered Mrs. FC and wrestled the recipe from her.
1/4 cup Orange Juice (this should be Florida OJ of course)
1/4 cup lime juice (Nellie and Joe's or squeeze your own)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 -1 cup cheap wine
Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish.
Mix well with a whisk, add chicken to marinate for 20-40 minutes.
Heat cast iron skillet with a little olive oil, add chicken, cook about 4-5 minutes each side.
Splash about 1/4 cup of wine over chicken, when chicken is brown on outside (maybe not done inside) remove and cut into strips.
Pour remaining marinade mix into browning pan, add another 1/4 cup wine, stir and scrape pan.
Cook medium heat until bubbly.
Add chicken to pan and simmer.
There ya' go. Two good recipes from the heart of Pure Florida.
You owe me.
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vicki said...

Okay- first whiff of food at PF and I'm here. I'm all over the pilau; as soon as I finish here I'm heading over to Gepferth's market for sausage. I already have some chicken from a left over roast chicken I made last night- do you think it would be okay to add some at the end? This sounds great- I'll do it and send pictures. The mojo, too! I owe you, right. Would you like my recipe for homemade chipotle lime mayonnaise? It is perfect for cold shrimp and other crustaceans...

So, I have this idea that the best novels include some recipes.

ImagineMel said...

or...if you're from's PER-LEW. Or at least that's what Mama and Grandma told me. :)

Rurality said...

What is scary is that is almost the same ingredients I used for the mojo! Except I left out the wine, and used key lime juice (way too much) and added paprika.

It was actually better the next day. But that first night it was so tart my face was screwed up for about 24 hours.

scotteaux said...

Mai oui, what I done told you, Cher? That pelau look a awful lot like good ol’ Cajun jambalaya. I never knowed dem Coonasses come from Minorca. Is dat close to Grand Isle?

robin andrea said...

You and Mrs FC should get a cooking show on the Food Network. You'd be great. These recipes sound delicious. We have some guests coming from out of town on Sunday, maybe I'll take a risk and try one of these new recipes on them. Yum.

Thunder Dave said...

That sure looks tasty! I do have to say that since you've turned us on to Mojo, we've used it on just about everything we've grilled. I've also got a few new recipe's I'll share with you and Mrs. FC when I'm down in Aug.

Hey, I posted yesterday, but it seems to have gone off into lala land. Or at least it's not letting me see it on my blog.

Thunder Dave said...

Well, I'm not sure what happened, but my post finally showed up.

vicki said...

I'm in the middle of the "be patient" part. la-de-da, ho-ho-hum...sure smells good and I haven't got anything in there yet but onions, tomatoes, sugar, salt and thyme. Yes, this is taking thyme.

vicki said...

Oh- before you say anything, no- I do not have 2 datil peppers. I would have to come back to Florida and get seeds from someone, so maybe next winter. So I did some pepper research and you're right, nothing else is quite like it. In this case I am going with one ancho chile (not so hot but good flavor) and one serrano, minus the seeds. So, is it the real deal. No, I guess not. Sigh.

kathy a said...

i'm dyin' about the pernuciation! that was the hardest thing, living in the south. everyone thought i talked funny, on accounta i didn't know their weird habits about certain words. also, i lacked twang.

my MIL and her son, my sweetie, make armenian rice pilaf. it involves frying broken bits of the thinnest spaghetti-ish things you can find in butter until brown, then adding rice and chicken stock, maybe some basil and garlic, and steaming on low until done. yummers. but not so zesty as yours. i've never seen a recipe calling for 5 minutes at 500 degrees, then resting for 1.5 hours, but it smells worth trying.

Floridacracker said...

Vicki x3,
I agree,my protagonist is a great cook.
The cookdown of the tomato puree is the slowest thing, but worth it. I knew not having a datil pepper would be a problem, but substituting any flavorful (not just hot) pepper should be acceptable ... not the same, but acceptable.
You will have datil seeds waiting at your St.Pete place when you migrate this fall.

When in Rome ...

Uh oh. How did the Publix product taste?

Accueillir à la Floride Pure mon ami! Oui, le pilau est infiniment comme le jambalaya.

Thanks! You are brave trying a new recipe on company. Living on the edge!!
If you do, I hope it's to your liking.

Thunder D,
Ah, the joys of Blooger! I'll head over after this.Have you tried Buffet's beer, Landshark Lager?

Kathy A,
We do talk funny. Coastal (raised)residents tend to have minimal twang while the twangthang rises as you go inland. Your MIL's dish sounds good.

Deb said...

The recipes both sound wonderful to this Northerner. Use of garlic and spices was largely unknown in my native cuisine.

Floridacracker said...

Sometimes I have to eat something bland just to decompress.

SophieMae said...

Mmmmmm...mmmmmmm!!!!! That's some mighty fine lookin' vittles! We say per-loo. I reckon coz my daddy's side of the family are from SC.

kevin said...

I use pretty much the same ingredients, I prefer sausage though. I cook mine on top of the stove, not in the oven. The cast iron pot is the key. When I first tried cooking pilau it never came out the way it should. I talked to my grandmother, a pilau expert, and she told me about the cast iron. I almost never cook in anything except cast iron now.

Floridacracker said...

It's not a big jump from pilau to the red rice that's so popular in the low country or jambalaya as Scotteaux said.
It's all good ... a rose by any other name ...

Yes, I didn't post the stove top method just because Mom has switched over to the fix and forget oven method ... I think Aunt Shelba turned her on to that method.
I agree 100% on the wonder of real cast iron. I never thought I'd say that growing up in the teflon age.

Thunder Dave said...

Yes, I tried it the last time we were at PCB. It's not bad, a good summertime brew!

Hurricane Teen said...

ahhhhhh, sausage pilau...soooooooo gooooood...ahhhhhh...that's all i can say right now

Floridacracker said...

I thought so too.

I knew you could appreciate this.

Anonymous said...

Question: What size cans of tomatoes? Whole tomatoes, diced?

Help I don't want to over tomato it.
Going to try blackened chicken pilau.