SMF + Peach Dish = Easy Weeknight Meals
Food always tastes best when cooked from scratch, but we don’t always have the time to shop, prep, and search for easy and delicious recipes. Meal kits have stepped in with the promise of adventure in a box, easy dinner delivered right to your doorstep. Photos are always pretty and perfect on websites, but what’s really in the box? We tried a meal kit including Springer Mountain Farms chicken to take the guesswork out for you.
We decided on PeachDish, the Atlanta based meal kit service. Peach Dish sustainably sources 80% of its ingredients from within 40 miles of their warehouse. The website is easy to navigate. Select two meals from the southern comfort food inspired menu ($50) and shipping is free. A market section allows you to add on things for your pantry and extra proteins. I added a tin of Beautiful Briny Sea’s “Campfire” smoky salt blend and set my delivery day to Tuesday.
UPS delivered the box on Tuesday morning. Atlanta artist Kyle Brooks who goes by the moniker BlackCatTips designed the cardboard’s fun artwork. Contents of the box are carefully packed with ecofriendly materials. Tuesday just happens to be recycling day in the neighborhood and I quickly took the fluffy liner (made of #4 plastic and stuffing) to the bin. I chucked ice packs into the freezer for packing a cooler this weekend. (Otherwise, you could snip, pour down the drain, and recycle the #1 plastic).
The protein pouch contained another ice pack and all meats needed for the two meals. For mine, this included four Springer Mountain Farms boneless breasts and chunks of Pine Street Market bacon.
PeachDish recently switched from organza bags to paper sacks for their ingredient packages. I put one in the fridge and began unpacking the one I wanted to cook now—Pollo Pibil with brown rice, wilted spinach salad, and bacon vinaigrette. The paper bag went into my paper-recycling bin. Recipe cards and a list of the week’s farmers and suppliers is included.
What’s inside the bag? There is a heap of bright green baby spinach leaves from Tucker Farms out of Rome, Georgia. Measured out portions of basmati rice come from Two Brooks Farm. There’s an orange, a lime, and a large shallot. Apple cider vinegar comes in a plastic bottle. Springs of cilantro and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar are in tiny bags. The only thing not included is kosher salt and cooking oil.
The recipe is easy to follow with step by step procedures and methods, including photos. Rice is the first task because it simmers for 35-40 minutes. I browned the uncooked rice first for the popcorn-like flavor I enjoy.
This is the fun part of a meal kit, all the chopping and juicing. It makes the process a fun date night or parent/child bonding moment. I juiced the orange and half of the lime, cutting the remaining half into wedges for garnish.
Peel and finely chop the shallot. This shallot was decently sized, so I saved half for another cooking session. (The next morning it went into white bean and bacon soup for breakfast). Pick and chop cilantro leaves. Instructions are to tear spinach leaves, discarding any tough stems. None were tough. I chopped bacon into smaller bits, saving a small bit for future use.
The only ingredients not included in a PeachDish box are salt, cooking oil, and water.
Pollo pibil is a chicken dish from the Yucatan Peninsula traditionally cooked in banana leaves and incorporating oranges and achiote paste. It gets its crimson color from achiote, mild peppery seeds of an evergreen shrub (Bixa Ovellana) native to tropical regions. Those seeds, also called annatto, add color to things like chorizo. Chicken marinades in juices, vinegar, and pibil spices for 15 minutes. I used this time to clean up and set the table.
Instructions are clear about how to perfectly sear the chicken, reserve the marinade, and make a thick sauce. This recipe comes from chef Sandra A. Gutierrez, a cookbook author and food writer.
I sautéed the bacon until crispy, added shallots, and stirred in apple cider vinegar for the wilted spinach salad dressing and crispy bacon bits. I omitted the included brown sugar. I didn’t think it would be necessary for the salad.
Scoop the rice and sprinkle cilantro. Top with the chicken and spoon sauce over top. Add spinach salad and top with bacon. Include the lime wedges for garnish and flavor. Dig in.
Verdict: The meal was easy to prepare and the ingredients were super fresh. Everything was well seasoned. The chicken had rich flavor similar to a molè and suggested cooking time created moist, juicy meat with a crisp sear. Lime wedges added additional zing to the rice. I devoured the salad.
This was such a pleasant experience with fresh, local ingredients. For someone watching calories and such, nutritional facts including calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, carbs, and protein are included. (This provided a hefty 35 grams of protein). I took PeachDish’s recycling initiative a step further by filling the box with items for donation and shipping a gift to a friend in the insulated protein pouch.