Serves 6 to 8
Chicken Luau was originally made with old stewing hens, long past their prime egg production, therefore it was necessary to stew them for a long time to tenderize them. Taro leaves and coconut milk were added. Today since few people, in Hawaii or out, keep their own hens, it is made with whatever chicken is at your market. Outside of Hawaii, you may substitute spinach for the taro leaves and coconut milk now comes in cans.
2 chickens cut into serving pieces (or equivalent in favorite parts – if legs and thighs are together, separate them – if wings are attached to the breasts, separate them )
1 large onion, cut into thick rings
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 to 3 thin slices of fresh ginger root
Chicken stock or canned broth
2, 16-ounce package frozen spinach or collard greens (taro leaves most likely not being available)
1 can coconut milk
Salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste
Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet or other pot, and over a moderate heat, fry the chicken pieces until nicely browned on all sides. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and enough chicken broth, stock or bouillon to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cover. Cook until the meat is very tender but not yet falling off the bones. The time will vary depending on the size of the chicken parts. When the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Strain the liquid and return to the pan. Over a moderately high heat, cook the broth, stirring frequently until it has reduced by half it’s volume. Return the chicken to the pan, add the spinach and the coconut milk. Cover and cook over moderate heat until all is hot through and the spinach done to your liking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, use tongues to place the spinach (or taro leaves) on a serving dish. Arrange the chicken on the bed of spinach. If there is a lot of liquid left in the pan, increase the heat and reduce it a bit before pouring it over the chicken and spinach. Serve hot.