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Chicken in Coffee Cream Sauce

“If you don’t start with butter and you don’t end with cream then this recipe is not for you”

It would have been wrong to call it just Coffee Chicken; that would have been unfair to the other star ingredients in this dish – cream, butter, wine, pepper, paprika, sugar. Take out one of these and it will never be the same. Definitely one of my best experiment outcomes, although I shouldn’t take credit for the idea alone. Formal thanks (meh!) to husband for suggesting ‘let’s try and make chicken with coffee today’, and to the several versions of chicken recipes using coffee on the internet. Most of them were for dry rub roasts or mole though, so I used imagination to find coffee friendly flavours.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken: 300 gms
  • Instant coffee: 1 tsp dissolved in 1/4th cup warm water (or a shot of espresso or fresh brew) + 1 tsp to sprinkle on top
  • Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
  • Paprika powder: 1 tsp
  • Brown sauce/ barbecue sauce: 1 tsp (optional)
  • Pepper: Coarsely ground, 1 tsp
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, crushed
  • Port wine or sherry: 1 tbsp
  • Butter: 1 tbsp
  • Cream: 2 tbsp
  • Shiitake mushroom: 1 no, sliced finely (optional)
  • Stock powder/cube: 1 tsp (optional)
  • All purpose flour: a pinch
  • Salt to taste

I used the brown sauce for some tang from the tamarind in it, and to give the sauce some body, but one can easily substitute it with barbecue sauce, soya sauce, tomato ketchup or simply skip it. Similarly the shiitake and stock powder pack in a lovely umami punch, but one can do without it.

Method:

  • Marinate the chicken pieces with coffee, wine, paprika, garlic, cinnamon, sugar, salt and the brown sauce (I used HP) for as long as you can afford to (not more than 24 hours though).
  • Heat the butter with some olive oil in a heavy bottom pan.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and add to the pan to brown them.
  • Add in the marinade, stock powder dissolved in half a cup of water and the shiitake mushroom slices, turn the heat high till chicken is almost cooked through.
  • Lower the heat, sprinkle a pinch of flour, add in the cream and stir vigorously to thicken into a glazy sauce. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and some more coffee powder and serve immediately.

This buttery gravy would go very well with a creamy batch of mashed potatoes. We are trying to move to a better carb source these days so we served it with millet topped with some melted butter. Incidentally, I discovered that millet, if cooked appropriately, can easily replace white rice or couscous. Will post some millet recipes soon, since I am pretty gaga about it this season. So, laters!

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