Friday, May 21, 2010

RECIPE - Country-style Chicken with Angu (Frango Caipira com Angu de Fubá)

Angu, Brazil's polenta, is a marvelous addition to a traditional country-style chicken dish from the central Brazilian state of Goiás. This huge, landlocked state is primarily agricultural, with farms ranging in size from small subsistance farms to mega-ranches and plantations.

The traditional cuisine of Goiás comes from the small family farms that dot the land, and very few of those farms don't have a half of a dozen chickens scratching around in the yard. They are valuable for the protein they provide in their eggs, and on special occasions for the protein they provide with their meat. A chicken that has lived its life running around the yard, what we'd call a free-range chicken, is known in Brazil as a frango caipira, which means "country-style chicken."

As this dish combines chicken with angu, the cornmeal polenta of Brazil, it makes a substantial main course, and need be accompanied only by a salad or cooked vegetable.
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RECIPE - Country-style Chicken with Angu
Serves 4

3.5 lb (1.5 kg.) free-range chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 tsp. corn oil, or other neutral vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 japapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cups water
1/4 cup chopped green onion, green parts only
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup yellow cornmeal (polenta)
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In large heavy-duty pan, heat the oil then fry the chicken pieces until nicely browned on all sides. Fry in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Use additional oil if required to avoid sticking.

Return all the chicken to the pan, the add the salt, garlic and turmeric, mixing well to cover all the chicken with the seasonings. Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken to a large serving platter, cover with half of the cooking liquid, sprinkle with the green onion and cilantro, and keep warm.

Return the remaining half of the cooking liquid to the heat, and when simmering add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the cornmeal begins to thicken enough to retain its shape on a spoon. If the angu becomes to thick, add hot water to thin it out. The consistency should be like oatmeal, or wet polenta.

Place the angu in a bowl, and serve it and the chicken immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

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