Levi Roots’ Havana ChickenPosted: June 6, 2012
One of my favourite ways to explore a different culture is through its food. Whether it’s in a restaurant or at home, I love trying new dishes. I recently and happily have discovered Levi Roots’ cookbooks. The musician turned celeb chef is famous for his line of Caribbean sauces and ready meals of which I have always been a fan. This week I tried my first recipe from his Food for Friends cookbook. I chose one of the simpler dishes to start out with but it still turned out impressively full of colour and flavour. I can’t wait to try some more recipes from this book but in the meantime, here’s how to make Levi Roots’ Havana Chicken.
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ red pepper, deseeded and cut into 2cm (3/4in) dice
Salt & black pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
1 oregano sprig
125ml (4floz) white wine or water
4 bone-in chicken breast pieces with wings, skin left on
1. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish that has a lid over a medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
2. Meanwhile, peel the tomatoes: cut a cross in the bottom of each and put them in a bowl. Pour over just-boiled water to cover and leave for 30 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. The skin should slide off. Peel and roughly chop.
3. Add the pepper to the onion and garlic in the casserole dish and cook, stirring occasionally, for another couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook further, until the water begins to evaporate and the sauce thickens slightly. Season well, then add the cumin, oregano and wine or water. Simmer for 4-5 minutes to reduce slightly. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
4. While the sauce is cooking, pour the remaining oil into a frying pan over a high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, then add it to the sofrito (the sauce in casserole dish!). Put on the lid and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked (pierce the thickest piece of chicken with a skewer – if the juices run clear, it is done; if not give it another 5 minutes, then test again), stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t catch on the bottom.
Recipe taken from Levi Roots’ ‘Food for Friends’