GRENADIAN CARAMEL NUTMEG CHICKEN
Note: Caramelizing sugar in the stew pot is an old-fashioned technique. The caramelization will taste best when it's deep golden brown. Adding the chicken pieces will lower the temperature of the oil and sugar so they don't darken more or scorch. From "Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen," by Michael Smith.
• 1 large chicken (about 4 lb.)
• 1 c. uncooked brown rice
• A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 c. vegetable oil
• 1/2 c. sugar
• 1 c. dark spiced rum
• 1 tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Cut chicken into 10 parts (or ask your butcher to do so): cut each of the 2 breasts into 2 pieces, plus 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings.
Make the rice first. Add rice to a small saucepan. Pour in 2 cups water and lightly season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat so liquid is barely simmering. Cover tightly and simmer until rice is moist and tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 45 minutes. The rice can rest for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.
While rice is cooking, begin the chicken. Splash oil into heavy Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Gently swirl pot, coating bottom evenly. Pour sugar into center of oil. Stir gently as oil heats and sugar dissolves and begins to brown. In a few minutes, the color will begin to deepen.
When a rich, fragrant golden brown, add chicken pieces. Pour in 2 cups water, the rum and nutmeg. Stir everything together gently until caramel dissolves and broth boils.
Lower heat until liquid is just barely simmering, then cover pot with tight-fitting lid. Simmer chicken in aromatic broth, without turning, until it is juicy and tender.
As stew simmers, the liquid will reduce and its flavors will concentrate. In 45 minutes or so, the broth will become a finishing sauce that beautifully glazes the chicken.
Ladle chicken over rice and serve.