Letting Life Lead
Here is the “pay it forward meal” from the leftovers I had from my grandmother’s Chicken Gizaud. I did look around the Internets and could not find one recipe that was similar to the one of my childhood. This is because most chicken soup doesn’t have ketchup in it (and the reason why I can use the leftovers from the previous recipe). Here is one even simpler version at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth page of Cape Verdean Foods and a blog from World Cup Foods with an adaptation of that recipe.
What is with your family and ketchup?
I have no idea. Maybe there was a shortage of tomatoes somewhere in our family history. As near as I can tell the only difference is the one weird ingredient and perhaps the fact that my grandmother doesn’t use garlic. As with any of these family recipes, you can alter them and make them into your own creation. However, if you want to duplicate the flavor profile of my childhood, you’ll want to follow my suggestions.
Rule #1: There are no measurements.
This canja is very simple and does not have a complex flavor profile. It’s not jazzy. It’s not particularly interesting. It certainly doesn’t have a wow factor. What it does have going for it is the memories it comes with and of course it’s amazing ability to taste better the second and third day no matter what. In fact, for a first timer I would suggest making it one day and not actually eating it until the next because it makes that much of a difference. I have no idea why!
My Grandmother’s Recipe
Chicken leg and thighs (sometimes just breasts) – with bones and skin
Carolina white rice
Water (occasionally she might use chicken bullion but not usually)
Saute the onions. Throw everything in, cover with enough water to cook the rice into a soup. Cook until the chicken falls off the bone and the rice blows up. Serve with the chicken on the bones or remove, shred, and return to the pot.
My Recipe (If starting from scratch)
Bone in and skin on chicken thigh or legs (or just bone in breasts if it’s been a good sale)
Brown rice (it does change the flavor somewhat but I think it is heartier)
A lot of onion.
Fresh garlic (just a little, it shouldn’t be garlicky)
Fresh ground pepper
Saute the onions and garlic. Add the chicken (if you want to remove the skin, but the bones add flavor. Using chicken breasts is fine, and they do give a different taste than dark meat). Add the rice and water, ketchup, and salt/pepper to taste. I usually just eyeball it, but you can try going for a 4:1 ratio of water to rice. I like my soup to be on the thicker side. It is easier to add more water in than to boil it out! Cook until the chicken falls off the bone and the rice explodes. Serve with the chicken on the bones or remove, shred, and return to the pot.
My Recipe (If starting with leftovers from Chicken Gizaud)
Leftover chicken, onion and the sauce
Salt and Pepper
Add the rice and water, and salt/pepper to taste. I usually just eyeball it, but you can try going for a 4:1 ratio of water to rice as before. I like my soup to be on the thicker side. It is easier to add more water in than to boil it out! Cook until the rice explodes. Serve with the chicken on the bones or remove, shred, and return to the pot.
I can’t make any promises (you might hate it), but I hope you enjoy this easy chicken and rice dish.
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