Tag Archives: chicken

Charleston Chicken Perlo

The more one travels, the more one starts seeing familiar though slightly altered words and dishes in places far from where they were first encountered. This is not a recent phenomenon, however. Foods have been traveling the world for millennia. Two rice-based dishes are perfect examples of this tendency. A combination of rice and lentils known as khichari in India moved along trade routes that predate Moses and found a home in North Africa. In Egypt, koshry or koshery, is a bean and rice dish descended from khichari that is an almost ubiquitous breakfast dish. When the British came to India, they took home some of the ideas of khichari, transforming it into the classic English breakfast dish, kedgeree.

Even more widespread was a dish introduced from Persia into India when the Mughals invaded in the 1500s: the rice and meat dish known as pilau. From Persia, it moved to Turkey, where it was called pilav. The Greeks adopted the Turkish dish and named in pilafi. In Spain, it morphed into paella. When South Carolina became a major rice-producing area, the rice with meat dish there adopted yet another form of this word: perlo.

There are myriad versions of chicken perlo. There is also some debate as to what is a perlo and what is a bog. Depending on the person with whom you’re speaking or the recipe you’re reading, chicken bog is either the same as perlo, just a wetter version of perlo, or uses sausage instead of bacon. But others will disagree with any or all of these descriptions or variations. That’s okay–because what is important is that they taste good. This is a warming and filling dish that, despite its exotic heritage, is comfortably familiar.

Charleston Chicken Perlo
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 chicken, 3-1/2–4 lb., cut up (or equivalent weight of your favorite parts)
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, chopped
5 cups water
6 strips bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large (4- or 5-qt.). Brown the chicken pieces in the oil. When nicely browned, cover the chicken with the water and add 1 tsp. salt. Boil the chicken, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the broth, reserving the broth. When they are cool, remove the skin and take the meat off the bones, tearing the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large frying pan with a lid, sauté the bacon until crisp. Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the bacon, and cook over medium heat until the onions just start to brown (about 10 minutes). Add the uncooked rice, stir until every grain is coated with bacon fat, and sauté until the rice begins to turn opaque. Add the thyme, a few grinds of pepper, and salt (about 1 tsp. should do it—you can always add more later). Add the chicken meat.

Measure the reserved broth. You should have about 4 cups. If you have more, remove some and enjoy it on its own. If you have less, top up with bouillon or packaged broth. Pour the broth over the chicken and rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes without lifting the lid. Serves 4–6.


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This Chick Can Help With Your Chickens


As a food writer who researches the sources of what we eat, I frequently encounter both purveyors and buyers who bemoan the disconnect between source and consumer that is so common today. Not only are we no longer a rural society, we hardly even know what rural means anymore. Plus, with food brought in from Chile or China as often as from a nearby farm, that disconnect with the food source grows.

There are, of course, many who are fighting this trend–and, in fact, fighting this trend is becoming a trend itself. Farmers offer tours of their facilities. Community Supported Agriculture offers an opportunity for city slickers to dig in the dirt. At farmers’ markets, people can actually talk to the people who grew the food they’re about to buy. And now, people are beginning to consider ways they can become part of the supply chain.

Urban farmers are digging up small backyards to create lush vegetable gardens. Rooftops sprout greenery and greenhouses. And now, in some places, cities are beginning to allow people to have a few chickens in the back yard. Nice to think of actually having a really fresh egg from time to time. And, unlike a dog, you don’t have to walk a chicken. But what do you have to do, and where do you go, if you do want to learn more about raising chickens?

Of course, researching it on your own is a possibility. The information is out there. But if you’re pressed for time and want to take advantage of the accumulated expertise of someone who has been thinking about all these things for many years, you could hire someone like Jennifer Murtoff. Jennifer is an Urban Chicken Consultant. Based in the metro-Chicago area, she has a wide range of neighborhoods and cityscapes that have benefited from her expertise. From presentations to groups to private guidance in how to establish your own coop full of chicks, Jennifer makes it her business to share the ins and outs of raising, feeding, and benefiting from your own hens.

If you’d like to learn more about Jennifer’s business, along with a wealth of information and tips for those already involved in raising chickens, you can check out her blog, Home To Roost.

It’s fun and encouraging to see people taking an interest in learning about food production. As Jennifer notes, a few chickens in the backyard won’t be enough to keep you from ever going to the store for eggs again, but there’s something about having your own eggs from your own hens that makes those eggs just a little more special.

Oh — and if chickens are just a bit too ambitious for you, ask Jennifer about quail. They can make a nice addition to the family, as well.

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Djej Makalli

Since I’ve written a fair bit about Morocco on this blog (original post here, plus a redirect to more extensive writing here), I figured it wouldn’t be amiss to include yet another Moroccan recipe — especially because, if you’ve gone to the trouble of making preserved lemons (see previous two posts), you might want more than one way to use them. So here is another use for those lemons — a wonderful Moroccan tagine of chicken with preserved lemons and olives. (I’ve also written about olives and their history, and offered a recipe for Moroccan marinated olives, so you’re getting to the place now that you could create an entire Moroccan meal. Just add the Moroccan orange salad for dessert.)

Traditionally, this would be cooked in the earthenware cooking vessel known as a tagine (of which I wrote here), but the recipe below has been modified for preparation in more common cooking vessels, so you can enjoy it even without owning a tagine. However, so common is the cooking method that the dish (and other tagine-cooked dishes like it) is also known as a tagine.

So while I generally encourage people to simply add a few exotic elements to their regular menu, rather than trying to prepare entire meals from one country (just to make the task of expanding one’s repertoire a bit less daunting), with this recipe, you’ll now be able to cook an entire Moroccan meal, should you wish to do so. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Continue reading

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Galinha Cafeal

The recipe below is a tasty, slightly exotic, but relatively simple way of preparing chicken. It comes from Mozambique, part of Portuguese Africa. Enjoy

Galinha Cafeal
Grilled Chicken with Coconut Sauce

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3-lb. chicken, cut up
1 Tbs. vegetable oil or melted butter
1 cup coconut milk

Place the chicken in a large, deep bowl. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper, and salt, and pour it over the chicken. Turn the pieces several times to be sure each is covered with marinade. Marinate chicken for 2–4 hours at room temperature or for 4–6 hours in the refrigerator. Turn every 20–30 minutes, to keep marinade evenly distributed.

Arrange chicken pieces, meat side down, on the rack of a broiling pan. Mix the oil or butter with the coconut milk and brush each chicken piece with the mixture. Broil chicken about 5–6 inches from the heat source for 8 minutes. Baste the chicken with the coconut mixture, and broil chicken another 8 minutes. Turn chicken over, and repeat the basting and broiling on the other side. Continue reading

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A Chicken in Every Pot

Hen and Rooster

A chicken in every pot was not first promised by American politicians but by a French king. Henry IV (Henry of Navarre) said, in the 16th century, “I want there to be no peasant in my realm so poor that he will not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.” Nowadays, chickens outnumber humans worldwide, and just about everybody can boil up a bird once considered so sumptuous that it was forbidden for religious fast days.

Today’s chicken, regardless of the variety, is descended from Gallus gallus, a wild red jungle fowl indigenous to south Asia. First domesticated in India about 4,000 years ago, the chicken was originally a sacred bird sacrificed for the sake of augury. However, it is likely that chicken made it to the table early on, though documentation seems to show that eggs and cockfights were of greater initial interest to those who later adopted the fowl as food. Continue reading

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Delightful Bali

Balinese Rice Terraces
Bali’s famous terraced rice fields

Among my favorite books when I was a child was an elegantly illustrated volume titled Bobra of Bali. In this book, I read of life on a beautiful island, where rice grew in terraced fields, children wore sarongs and went barefoot, women went to temple with towers of food and flowers balanced on their heads, and festivals were celebrated with gorgeously and fantastically costumed plays and dances.

A few years ago, I learned from friends that Bali was still worth visiting, and that it was in many areas unchanged from the images I had of it. It didn’t take me long to decide to go.
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Chicken Salad’s Russian Roots

Salat Oliviye

Salat Oliviye

When the brilliant, energetic, and visionary Peter the Great of Russia decided to drag his country into the modern age, among the orders he gave were that men had to cut their flowing hair, women had to stop wearing face veils, and everyone among the nobility should learn a foreign language, preferably French. He also ordered people to have parties, and he led the way by hosting grand assemblées at his palace in the newly named and freshly redecorated capital of St. Petersburg.

The Russian nobility hesitated, but only briefly. They quickly figured out that dressing beautifully, living comfortably, and eating sumptuously were not hardships. In fact, after the death of Peter the Great, not only did the nobility refuse to go back to their former ways, they made good living one of their main preoccupations, and for Russia’s nobility, good living meant good food. Continue reading


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