Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jalapeno Roasted Chicken, Chile and Cheese Rice, and Vanilla-Pineapple Agua Fresca

I've really been enjoying Marcela Valladolid's new show Mexican Made Easy. I love the way Marcela uses Mexican flavors and turns them into fresh, light and gorgeous dishes. On a recent episode entitled "Mexican Family Style", Marcela made a Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and it made me wonder why I hadn't ever thought of something like that before. I watched her as she made a jalapeno paste out of oregano, butter, garlic, shallot, jalapeno, olive oil and salt and pepper. She rubbed it under the chicken skin and then she rubbed it all over the chicken. I got out my grocery list and started making notes!

I knew that Marcela's Jalapeno Roasted Chicken was going on the menu right away, but then she carried on making a delicious looking rice with fresh corn and poblano peppers. I watched her pour Mexican crema over the rice and top it with Monterey Jack cheese and set it under the broiler to melt and brown.

As soon as she pulled her Chile and Cheese Rice out of the oven I knew I had to make that too! Do you know what she had the nerve to do next?

She whipped up a batch of Vanilla-Pineapple Agua Fresca right before my eyes! I watched as she cut up a fresh pineapple and placed it in a blender with vanilla, water and a bit of sugar. She poured that golden pineapple juice into a glass pitcher and it looked so creamy and frothy. I was captivated. I was excited. I knew I had to make the entire meal and fast!

Notes/Results: This was such a wonderful Sunday supper! I loved every component. The chicken skin turned a perfect golden brown and was crispy crunchy. The breast meat was incredibly moist with just the right hint of heat from the jalapeno. (The kids ate the legs and thighs which weren't as spicy because the jalapeno paste is only rubbed under the skin of the breast meat). I had some potatoes to use up so I placed them under the chicken as it roasted and they turned out so tender, buttery, and flavorful. The rice was so aromatic with a wonderful toasty flavor. The poblano pepper added a nice mellow heat to the rice and I loved the pop from the corn kernels. The Monterey Jack on top of the rice adds such a lovely quality and doesn't over take the taste of the rice at all. The Vanilla-Pineapple Agua Fresca is the perfect sipper for this meal. It's gorgeous, sweet, frothy and refreshing! I loved everything about this meal and found it exciting and new. I'll definitely be making it again and highly recommend it.

You can find the links to all three recipes HERE on the Food Network website.

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