Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 21, 2013

Chicken with Pineapple & Walnuts

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Here’s the funny thing about winter in South Carolina: it’s not really wintery most of the time. Last week, for example, it was above 70°F most days. But while most people living here are smiling and grateful for the beautiful weather, I really can’t wrap my head around this. I grew up in the North, which had a definitive winter with snow and ice and all that.

Grey, windy days are actually appealing to me, because it means I can pull out a warm fuzzy sweater and hide under a heap of blankets, just me and a book and a big mug of hot cocoa. If I tried that down here, I’d melt. Instead, we found ourselves pulling out cool flimsy t-shirts and shoving all the blankets off the bed at night.

It’s really just confusing.

The point being, the pineapple advertisement you see here is offering to “add a little sunshine to winter meals,” when more realistically I tend to need a little sunscreen. But Buzz has been saying he wanted to make this for a while (since September or so, actually; he procrastinates as well as I sometimes) and so we finally went ahead. After all, it’s only 67°F today — downright chilly.

recipe

CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE & WALNUTS

30 g (1 oz) chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 chicken, jointed
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt & pepper, pinch nutmeg
1 x 450g can Golden Circle Pineapple Pieces (drained)
1 tablespoon cornflour
4 tablespoons cream

Fry walnuts gently in oil, remove. Add to pan chopped onion and cook gently. Add the chicken pieces which have been coated in flour. Fry brown, add stock, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook gently 45 mins. Remove chicken, blend cornflour with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir into liquid in pan. When it thickens, add pineapple, nuts and cream and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with parsley.

ingredients

Instead of cream, we’re using coconut milk as a non-dairy alternative — both because it will thicken approximately the same way, and because coconut and pineapple play well together.

walnuts

Lightly toasted walnuts look… well, like slightly greasy walnuts. They almost smelled burnt, but turned out fine.

flouring

I still don’t know why the chicken didn’t get any salt or pepper before (or while) being flowered.

browning

We had to brown the chicken in two batches, it simply wouldn’t fit — even in our largest pot.

stewing

And then we just dumped in broth and walked away for 45 minutes.

cooked

After stewing, it was definitely quite thoroughly cooked.

sauce

Adding pineapple, walnuts, and cream is not how I generally expect to make gravy. In fact, if I named the ingredients least likely to be in gravy, they could easily be on the list.

platter

Well THAT’S brown, huh?

It barely fit onto our standard serving platter without spilling over the edges, but ended up looking fairly promising. (Oddly, the pineapple looks much more yellow in the photograph; it was pale and almost brownish in real life. So you’re lucky you’re on that side of the monitor…)

serving

This wasn’t quite as bad as we expected, or quite as good as we expected. The chicken (despite not being seasoned before stewing) was juicy and tasted good, and the gravy was nice as well. Nothing to write home about, though. Any bites with pineapple and walnuts did have a bright burst of flavor, though. It was sort of like a very confused version of this one Chicken with Cashews we used to get all the time from a local Chinese restaurant — fruits, nuts, and meat.

While I don’t expect this will become part of our standard recipe rotation, it came out pretty well and did bring a bit of bright flavor to the dinner table. Now all I need is some real winter weather to match.

From the Flickr page of Glen.H

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Responses

  1. I’ve cooked things like this before, and they do turn out…meh. Same ingredients, supposedly, but there’s something about restaurant/grocery store/Chinese food that simply has more taste. Do they add more salt, sugar, some mysterious substance known only to professionals? Try to duplicate it at home and it’s just kind of disappointing.

  2. It seems like this should have worked and been awesome… but nuts never scream “amazing!” to me in a meat dish, they just don’t. Except peanuts in Thai food… and yeah, that cashew chicken… Definitely, I’m the component which makes this not “amazing” at home. Sounds like a reasonable try, though. Maybe I’d make it sans fried nuts…?


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