Cheryl Talks with Culinary Legend Jacques Pepin

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Cheryl Alters Jamison talks with Chef Jacques Pepin, world-renown cooking instructor and educator, author, and artist

Jacques Pepin’s Chicken and Rice with Cumin and Cilantro

From Poulets & Legumes by Jacques Pepin

© 2016 Jacques Pepin, Published for Sur la Table by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Serves 6 to 8

Chicken with rice, or arroz con pollo, is a staple at our house. This dish is highly seasoned with cumin, ginger, garlic, and a great deal of cilantro. We like it best when it is made with chicken wings. If you buy whole wings, remove the tips and save them for stock; cut the remaining sections apart so you can have two meaty pieces. In my market, I can usually buy my wings already trimmed.

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds chicken wings (about 20), tips (if any) removed, remaining sections separated into 2 pieces each

2½ cups coarsely chopped onion

¼ cup coarsely chopped garlic

¼ cup coarsely chopped peeled ginger

2 cups (about 13 ounces) Carolina long-grain white rice

1½ tablespoons ground cumin

14½-ounce can diced tomatoes

2½ teaspoons salt  

1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot chili sauce

2½ cups water

1½ cups chopped fresh cilantro stems, plus ½ cup chopped, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a 12- to 14-inch skillet or a pot large enough to hold the chicken wings in one layer. Dry the wings with paper towels, place them in the hot oil, and brown over high heat, uncovered, for about 8 minutes. Turn the wings over with tongs and brown them on the other side for 8 minutes. Using the tongs, transfer the browned wings to a bowl.

Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the drippings in the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and cumin and mix well, then add the tomatoes, salt, sriracha, water, and chopped cilantro stems, and mix well.

Return the wings to the pan and bring to a strong boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the wings are cooked through.

Serve the stew garnished with the chopped cilantro, if desired.