The idea of cooking with fruits has always fascinated me. Not that it’s anything new in Filipino cuisine. We have the classic pininyahang manok, we add green papaya to our tinola and we cook our sinigang with the juice of mashed sampalok (tamarind) pulp, kamias or bayabas (guava).
But, surely, by stretching the imagination, we can come up with other ways of cooking with fruits? So, I cooked chicken and mangoes in yogurt and it was a hit not just with my family but among readers who have tried it. Comes not this spicy pineapple chicken casserole seasoned serving-size chicken pieces baked with chilis, pimientos, and pineapple. It’s mildly spicy, subtly sweet, and gorgeous.
Chop the chicken into serving-size pieces. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Add some rosemary leaves and lemon zest. Pour in the liquid seasoning and the juice of a lemon. Mix well to coat the chicken pieces with the spices and seasonings evenly. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in a baking dish. Slice the chilis and add to the chicken. Split the pimientos, scrape off the seeds, and cut off the white membranes. Dice and add to the chicken as well. Add the diced pineapple. Take the cloves and garlic and distribute them strategically in the baking pan.
Bake the chicken in a 375oF oven for an hour to an hour and a half. Don’t forget to place the baking pan on a tray to catch any dripping. The spicy pineapple chicken casserole is ready as soon as it comes out of the oven. To serve, place a piece of chicken on a plate, garnish with pieces of pineapple and vegetables, then drizzle some sauce over.