Eating for the recession

The media has certainly picked up on this whole recession thing.  TV, the newspapers are carrying stories about eating cheaply but well. As someone who’s always been drawn to the weekly specials in the meat section of the supermarket, I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. After all, it’s always been possible to eat well, and with great variety, without breaking the bank. Though perhaps you do need, if not a little imagination, at least the willingness to browse cooking books for ideas.

I was quite surprised though to find a tempting recipe in one of last year’s Christmas presents, a school fund-raising cookbook called Essence of Dio, which I had sort of thought of as a collection of recipes showcasing what rich people eat … Dio being a private girls’ school in Auckland. But here was an interesting way to use the chicken thighs, on special this week at New World. Mediterranean chicken. It did mean buying Arborio rice (expensive) (but a little goes a long way), but everything else was in the pantry or fridge … although that also meant replacing black olives with green. With no detrimental effect.

          6 pieces chicken

          2 tbspns olive oil

          1 onion, chopped

          1 capsicum, deseeded & diced

          6 cloves garlic, crushed

          1 cup Arborio rice

          2 cups chicken stock

          1 tin tomatoes

          2 tbspns tomato paste

½ cup capers

½ cup black olives

handful basil leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly fry chicken in oil in large ovenproof pan or casserole until browned. Remove & set aside. Gently cook onion, garlic, capsicum. Add rice & coat in oil. Pour in stock, add tomatoes & tomato paste. Stri until well mixed. Bring to boil, making sure rice is covered by liquid. Stir through capers & olives. Arrange chicken pieces on top. Cover and put in oven for about an hour. (I checked regularly to make sure the rice wasn’t drying out – no problems, but be prepared to add more stock or water if necessary.) Garnish with basil. Delicious. A one-pot meal suitable for a gathering of friends.

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