13 April 2010

Chicken Cushion with Black Venus Rice


Not being entirely sure what to do for dinner, I noticed that our butcher was open, which is very rare on Mondays. So I wandered in to see if they had anything interesting looking, but they didn't, so off the top of my head I asked for a chicken cushion. They didn't have any, so I got one made up especially and this time it was a whopping big one too.

So that was the meat part of dinner sorted. What about carbs? Well, there was the brown packet of fancy expensive vacuum packed black rice I bought at Harvey Nicks last August. It's called Black Venus Rice and the packet was full of family lore about this rice and a "btw boil for 35-40 minutes in salty water" nicely hidden away in a corner.

I'd not had any suitable opportunity to try this out, but a friend of mine had tried it and said it was great. So, following the instructions I boiled 100 g of the rice in 500 ml liquid. Since I decided to put some mushrooms in for good measure and I only had canned ones, I put in the liquid from them and topped up with hot water to reach half a litre. I also put in salt. After 30 minutes, it looked like there wasn't enough water and the rice would start sticking, so I poured in a bit more. Curiously when I first poured in the liquid, it all went dark purple/red like wine and for a moment I toyed with the idea of chucking an egg in to see if the shell would pick up the colour. I'll do it next time. 40 minutes did it for this rice type.

Given the cost of the 500 g packet, I was surprised that it wasn't cleaner. I rinsed it well, but didn't have the patience to go through all the grains and pick bits out apart from the couple of odd looking things I spotted straight away.

In the mean time I baked the chicken cushion and I gave it 50 minutes as it was bigger, but that was over the top and the meat felt a bit dry.

I'd also quartered the button mushrooms and fried slowly in a bit of butter. As Lundulph came in through the door, I drained the rice, rinsed it well and mixed in with the mushrooms and re-fried it. The rinsing was necessary as it turned out I'd added too much salt to the cooking water and the rice tasted very salty too, but rinsing removed that.

The chicken was stuffed with some sort of sage and onion stuffing mixed with sausage meat and the whole lot worked pretty well.

The rice was certainly one of the tastier I've eaten, so I think it's worth having a packet in the larder.


Anonymous said...

I've never come across chicken cushions before, what are they?

Caramella Mou said...


Basically it's both chicken breasts, carved out from the rib cage and with the skin still left on. Then a mixture of sausage meat and onion and sage stuffing is put inside and the whole thing is wrapped up and tied with strings and looks like a pin cushion. Just makes things a bit more festive I think, without too much effort on the cook's side :-)