Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jalapeño Chicken with Shredded Broccoli

José Cordoba Martinez Gutierez grew up illiterate in the mountains of Ecuador. Until age 23, he made a living raising Jalapeño peppers on three acres of hill top that his father carved out of virgin jungle with a machete. His hands were a continual shade of pink from the years of labor and chemical burns from the peppers. He smelled mildly of loamy earth.

One day José visited the city where he met a beautiful woman from Laos who was there buying spices at a convention for Asian restauranteers. The moment their eyes met, José knew he would marry her or die alone. He said in Spanish, "My name is José. I grow peppers."

She could only respond in Laotian that sounded, to him, like a prolonged pre-sneeze, but her voice was pleasant, and she smiled at him with her beautiful teeth.

José and Poa indeed married and, eventually, opened a restaurant in a small town near José's pepper farm. Years passed. His sons worked the farm and had some excellent success expanding their repertoire of vegetation to include broccoli and sesame (and some abysmal failures like rhubarb and microwave popcorn). The restaurant's only dish was a curious fusion of South American and Laotian flavors known simply as "the recipe".

Passed on with love an reverence for two generations, the recipe continued to delight many an Ecuadorian truck driver and itinerant school teacher. It was kept by the family with great secrecy, as all their livelihoods depended on it.

That is, until José's grandson Zack fell into an unfortunate gambling habit and, in with the desperation of a junkie, sold me the recipe for $37 and a points card from H-E-B passed off as a stolen Visa. What can I say?

Here is the recipe as both dictated and heard by a man: Pour some sesame oil in a pan and put some chicken tenders in it. Stir them around until they get all white with just a few brown places.

Pour in a bottle of red jalapeño dressing and a few splashes of soy sauce. Get out some butter and put it on the counter. Take a picture of it, but don't use it in the recipe.

Cook it all up until it looks like this. Note to men, don't use "high" heat on account of it burning everything.

It's OK to pretend the boiling broth is molten lava. Just don't tell anyone.

Then pour in a bag of broccoli cole slaw with carrots and purple cabbage. Personally, the words "cole slaw" make me mildly nauseous, but that's just some unresolved psychological baggage of my own, and shouldn't be an issue for most people. I prefer to call it shredded broccoli.

Then you stir it all up until it looks like this. Serve it under heat lamps with egg rolls and banana pudding with nilla waffers (just like at the Golden Palace Chinese buffet). It smells good and makes your wife really happy. I highly recommend it.


Diane said...

what a great recipe! And a great blog! by the way, I love your sidebar verse, from Micah 6:8. It is one of my favorite Scriptures.

P.S. yes, I love the book Peace Like a River. Unfortunately, I have not finished "Les Miserables."

Chaos-Jamie said...

Don't you love the blogsphere? You meet the most interesting people. Looks like we have a lot in common (minus gender, location, hair, etc.) not the least of which is an aversion to slaw while enjoying shredded broccoli.

Orangehouse said...

Diane, Les Miserables was a killer. I read the 1400+ unabridged version. I had to skim parts because they were very detailed background material, but the story, all in all, was a fantastic story of forgiveness. The plot twists and turns on itself in interesting ways that are better expressed in the book than the musical and/or movies. It took me forever to finish it, but at the end I wept because it was so beautiful.

A friend of mine told me I should read the "long version" to increases my "reading confidence". It was a term he made up, but it worked. I am not intimidated by big books anymore. I have a post about Les Miserables and my boys:

Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Formerhoneymooner said...

You must, must, MUST post your recipe for butternut squash soup. I am certain your readers will love it as much as I do.

Orangehouse said...

Dear Formerhoneymooner, if that is your real name,

I have made that soup a few more times since the Honeymooner days, but nobody but me (and perhaps you) seems to like it. I think the color scares people away. I made a batch for a Christmas potluck and people avoided it. What can you do?

I hope you are well and still honeymooning in your own way. We miss those days sometimes, but life is good.