Valentine’s Day is almost here! A celebration of love, flowers, chocolates, and everything decorated in pink and red. And all of that celebration costs money.
I don’t know about y’all, but the recession is still taking place at my house. And tax season is here…woo, Lord put a hand.
Valentine’s Day can still be romantic and beautiful and celebratory without dropping major coin. This year my husband and I agreed to celebrate with a delicious dinner, instead of exchanging presents. So this weekend I’m going to make us something special, that’s close to my heart.
Trinidadian stewed chicken from the Sylvia Hunt cookbook.
Who is Sylvia Hunt, you ask? She was Trinidad’s Julia Child. She put our cuisine on the map and for many, remains the gold standard of Trinidadian cooking. Sylvia Hunt wrote several cookbooks, hosted a television cooking show, and back in the day, owned her own restaurant. She passed away in the Eighties, I believe. And regrettably, dissent and conflict in her family has prevented her cookbooks from being reprinted and cherished as I am sure she herself would have wanted. You can find loving homages on Can Cook Must Cook and Trini Gourmet.
I managed to get a copy of one of her books, photocopied and bound with love by my parents. So allow me to share this DELICIOUS recipe with you! I added some info to clarify, for those of you who don’t “speak Trini” =)
Chicken, Trinidad Style.
One whole chicken, chopped into pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 cup green seasonings of choice. (Some grocery stores actually sell Caribbean imported bottles of green seasoning. Otherwise, make your own by following Trini Gourmet’s recipe)
1 clove garlic
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. cooking oil
2 tbs. cooking butter
4 tbs. ketchup
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 medium onions, sliced
3 red and green sweet chilies
1/2 cup dry sherry
hot pepper to taste
Cut dressed chicken into pieces, rinse with lime. Drain, remove skin from chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, rub green seasoning marinade well into chicken. Leave to stand covered for at least two hours.
Remove chicken from marinade, drain liquid off marinade reserving herbs. Heat oil, add sugar, allow to become golden brown. Add chicken, toss to become evenly browned, add butter and toss chicken for 5 minutes. Add drained herbs from marinade, onions, garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sweet chili peppers and sherri. Add pepper to taste, and simmer for 5 minutes for flavors to become well developed. Check the seasoning. Remove from heat, place chicken into casserole dish, spoon liquid over and arrange onions etc. over chicken. Cover, place into preheated oven 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
I am serious. If you like cooking, make this recipe and leave me a comment. I made this maybe 2 weeks ago and my husband couldn’t stop singing its praises. You’ll need a Dutch oven or a large pot for the first part, and I christened a new pot I was gifted with from the AMAZING Giada De Laurentiis collection at Target. I’m going to do a full review soon, but here’s a link for you to pre-order a cast iron Dutch oven of your own!
You can serve Chicken, Trinidad Style with any side dish you like — as you can see in the photo, I made it with mashed sweet potatoes and sugar snap peas. But for Valentine’s Day I plan to serve mine with garlic mashed potatoes and a chopped side salad. And because it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m making a special, romantic cocktail for us to enjoy before and after dinner.
Lately I’ve been obsessed with pomegranate juice, specifically Pom Wonderful — on its own it’s not the sweetest or tastiest juice. But it is SO good for you, and in cocktails and recipes it takes on a whole new delicious life.
So how about a Valentine’s cocktail? I present to you, The Lola.
1 1/4 oz. of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 oz. vodka
1 tsp. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
2 oz. champagne
Stir all the ingredients over ice, and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.
Now if you haven’t ever tried St. Germain, you are in for a TREAT. This French liqueur is made from elderflowers picked in the Alps. Just a splash takes champagne to another level of decadence. It isn’t cheap, so I’m going to remix the Lola with my favorite asti spumante. Score!
What are your Valentine’s Day plans, bellas? However you celebrate, I hope the day is filled with love!