This is an idea I picked up from chef Elise Labide. Just like chef Labide, I view cooking as a fun pursuit, an escape from the mundane and the dreary.
I meet a lot of people who tell me: ” I don’t cook” and who view cooking as a chore to avoid at all costs.
What about you?
Have you ever asked yourself why do I cook?
- 2 chicken breast (deboned)
- 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 green pepper
- 1/2 cup of red pepper paste (mild)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- salt, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of seven-spice
- olive oil, as needed
- Cut the chicken into strips about 1/4 inch in width (1 cm.)
- Douse the chicken strips with olive oil, salt, sumac and other spices or herbs. Let it marinade for 15 minutes or longer.
- Cut the peppers into strips the same width as the chicken, discarding the white part and the seeds. Fill a large pot with 4 cups of salted water and bring to a rolling boil; boil the pepper strips for 2 minutes until they become more pliable and drain.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper and set it on the work surface. Place two strips of chicken vertically side by side (one half inch apart or 1 1/2 cm.) and insert a pepper strip underneath the two strips; continue the operation with another piece of pepper, this time going over the strips of chicken; keep going until you have used a few strips of pepper and a few strips of chicken. Tighten the “rug” and cut the uneven ends if desired.
- With a pair of scissors, cut a square all around the chicken rug. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and when hot, flip the piece of paper holding the chicken rug onto the oil; remove the paper and let the rug cook for 3 minutes until the chicken is browned.
- Heat the oven to 400F and place the chicken rug on a piece of foil on a small cookie sheet. Bake without flipping the chicken rug so that the uncooked side bakes and cooks for a few minutes (no longer than 4 minutes).
- When all the rugs are cooked, keep warm in the oven and make the sauce: Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add 1/2 cup of red pepper paste and 2 cups of water. Stir to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil; add 3 mashed cloves of garlic to the mixture, stirring to mix well. Let the sauce thicken and when ready to eat, spoon on a plate and place the chicken rugs over it.
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