As regular readers of this blog know, one of my favourite things to do is travel. I also love discovering new dishes on my travels and bringing them back home to recreate a little piece of a vacation in my everyday life. A dish I fell in love with on our recent trip to California was the side dish served with the Poulet Rôti - red rice, pickled grapes, wilted arugula, candied hazelnuts & tarragon chicken jus at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. You can read about the rest of our meal here)
As I was eating it, I was trying to imprint its taste on my memory so I could recreate it when I got home. Recently, I made a version of this that I was pretty happy with but it certainly could do with some more experimentation. I made it as a simple pilaf-type dish to accompany roast chicken so it’s sans arugula and tarragon chicken jus but it still tasted pretty fine.
I had been wanting to try a recipe using Ontario Coronation table grapes and whilst the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers have a nice selection of recipes on their site, I felt they might be a great addition to this side dish.
According to Wikipedia, Coronation table grapes (formally, Sovereign Coronation are a “virtually seedless” hybrid variety of table grape developed in Canada. Coronation grapes are popular throughout Canada, and are available during a short period in late summer and early fall. These grapes are characterized by their “vibrant blue-purple”colour, similar to the related Concord variety.
I caramelized the hazelnuts a couple of days before and stored them in an airtight container.
inspired by Bouchon Restaurant (Yountville)
for the rice:
1 cup red rice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup concord grapes, halved and de-seeded (if necessary)
1/2 cup candied hazelnuts
for the hazelnuts:
1 cup hazelnut pieces or halves
¼ cup sugar
caramelize the hazelnuts:
Heat the hazelnuts in a seasoned wok or heavy non-stick sauté pan over medium for a minute and stir in the sugar. Adjust heat to prevent burning while constantly stirring the nuts until the sugar melts. Continue to stir and cook until the nuts begin to stick and the mixture is getting sticky. Spread the nuts over a sheet of waxed or parchment paper and cool. Break apart into small pieces and crumble. Set aside.
cook the rice:
Combine rice, stock, salt and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir a couple of times. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand, covered for 5-10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the caramelized hazelnut pieces and grapes. Serve warm.
Verdict? Loved this. Nutty rice and hazelnuts combined with the sweet grapes – perfect. I will try this again with a jus and some arugula wilted in. This version is topped with a little fresh arugula but I feel the wilting would really add a lovely soft peppery flavour to the dish too.
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