“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~Julia Child
“Chik’n in Roasted Garlic Coconut Sauce with Kale over Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice” is just the menu needed to help warm up a grey, wintery New England night. A little taste of the Islands, a crackling fire and suddenly the chills of the day are instantly forgotten. I can stand out in the world with the snow and the rain and the wind pounding down on my inner warmth as I walk to the bus stop lamenting the broken down car in my driveway, and find a tiny space of solace knowing that my oasis isn’t far away. In a few hours I will step back into my kitchen, I will chop, I will simmer, I will smell and my senses will carry me far away. And as I sit down in front of the fireplace with these simple ingredients on my plate I will feel accomplished, confident, proud, and safe. So I keep walking towards the bus stop replaying in my mind how I will prepare dinner tonight and I’m able to keep going with a smile on my face. The wonders a little coconut milk can do.
Vegan Coconut Garlic Chik’n with Kale
1/2 pkg Quorn Chik’n pieces, or your favorite vegan brand, or use 2 to 4 local, free range chicken breasts, cubed
1 blub roasted garlic (see note below), skins removed and discarded
1 can coconut milk
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 pinch of Red Pepper flakes, optional
1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
1 cup kale, stems removed and roughly torn
Salt and Pepper
In a cast iron skillet or sauté pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat until simmering. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Once onions are translucent add in the roasted garlic and stir until the garlic has broken down. Next add the can of coconut milk and the 1/2 bag of Quorn Chik’n pieces and the cup of kale. Reduce heat and simmer until the coconut milk has reduced and thickened and the Chik’n pieces have warmed through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot over rice.
Note: to roast garlic at home you only need three ingredients and a square of aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take one whole bulb of garlic and slice off the top section of the bulb, discard top section. You want to remove the top portion of the garlic bulb because it will make removing the roasted garlic from its skin so much easier. Place the bulb of garlic on one square of aluminum, generously drizzle the garlic with extra virgin olive oil, and then sprinkle the top with a healthy pinch of kosher salt. Flip the garlic cut side down on the foil. Fold the aluminum over the garlic to create a sealed pocket. Place the garlic pocket directly on the oven rack and roast until the garlic is caramelized, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to fully cool. The garlic is soft and if still hot will stick to your hands and can cause a 2nd degree burn. Once the garlic has cooled gently pop the garlic cloves from the skin with a small spoon, the smaller the better. Add the roasted garlic to your favorite savory dishes or mix with butter and serve on your favorite toasted bread.
Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and toasted
1 3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon of lime zest
1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed then roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
In a medium sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, bring the water to a boil. Add a healthy pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Stir in the rice and lime zest. Bring water back to a boil then cover the pan with the lid, reduce heat to low and simmer the rice until fluffy about 20 to 30 minutes. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the chopped cilantro and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot.