Here is my second recipe as a contributing writer to http://www.yummymummysworld.com where I tackle the notion of food texture on a developing palette. Critical for the mouths of infants but also interesting to note for any fussy eaters!
Chorizo & Turmeric Pilaf.
Taste buds are a tricky thing. Ones palette is a constantly developing entity that can acquire a like or dislike for a particular texture or flavour and as somebody with the stomach of an old plumber’s boot and a palette built for anything, I often struggle to understand some peoples distaste for certain flavours. I align my designed palette to a culinary practice of my mother whereby as children, we were not molly-coddled into the routine of cooking different dishes for the children. We ate what the adults ate and I am eternally grateful for this.
I recently read an article that specified how children’s taste buds are more sensitive to those of an adult as they are still in development, therefore anything harsh or relatively ‘new’ to them, often times illicit a sense of dislike due to its unfamiliar nature. But I say to never fear the unknown. So if interesting textures and gutsy flavours are introduced from a relatively young age, it’s quite accurate to believe that the child’s palette will develop in a multitude of adventurous ways.
Now, I don’t condone giving your child a Vindaloo curry in the name of palette widening, but I am of the mind-set of introducing colourful flavours into a child’s meal but disguising it under the blanket of something a lot softer. This is why I have created my Chorizo and Turmeric Pilaf. As the pilaf is fundamentally a fluffy rice dish, it has the ‘repetitiveness’ of child’s food that they respond too so well (so you can still do spoon-aeroplane noises!) but has enough bold flavour combinations and chewy chorizo bite to keep your child hooked on the new transition.
- Slice a non-spicy chorizo sausage once vertically down the middle and then multiple times diagonally until you have a handful of half-moon slices before dropping into a deep pan
- Turn on the heat – no need for oil as chorizo contains natural, smoky paprika oils – so once these have been expressed, remove from the pan and keep in a foil parcel to the side to keep warm
- To the deep pan of orange juices add a small stick of butter and a chopped white onion and stir with a spoon so that the onion is coated and softening
- Grate in a little garlic and add salt, pepper and a yellow dusting of Ground Turmeric and turn with a spoon
- Now add a cup of long grain rice (per person) and stir regularly to get the rice a little translucent but also coated in all the flavours
- After about 3 minutes of regular stirring add a cup and a half of vegetable stock (per person), a pinch more salt and bring to a bubble before adding the chorizo from the foil packet, stirring with a fork and dropping the heat
- Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes
- Stir roughly with a fork and take off the heat before dropping a tea towel over the pan and allowing to rest for 10 minutes
- Serve with a handful of chopped fresh coriander but I’d be lying if I said I have omitted this when not trying to show off
While the ethos of a pilaf is to aim for a fluffy rice dish as opposed to a creamy rice dish like a risotto, I believe that the monotonous method of eating a rice dish is a tasty mimic of that recognised by young children. And as there are only two powerful flavours to adhere too here (the paprika in the Chorizo and the Turmeric on the rice) the combination of bold taste against soft texture provides the perfect evening supper for both child and parent.