Recently posted my recipe for Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad in Foodielady.com
“San Isidro, labrador, quita el agua y pon el sol.” This is a phrase that Catholic farmers in spanish speaking countries say to one of agriculture’s patron Saints when they want the rain to go away and the sun to come out. This summer in Puerto Rico it has been raining a lot as opposed to bright sunny days typical of the season. The weather has been crazy, like in many parts of the world, and we have missed the traditional trips to the beach. For us, the best comfort food for a rainy day is Asopao. A stew made of chicken or seafood with rice which is heartier than a traditional chicken soup. I usually accompany my Asopao with a side of avocado and tostones (fried green plantains). So, for those of you that will be sequestered in your homes during this weekend (due to the rain or the cold), here is my recipe for Asopao de Pollo (Chicken Asopao).
Asopao de Pollo
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 drum sticks or large chicken wings (season with a little adobo or salt and pepper)
1/2 cup of yellow onion finely chopped
1/4 cup cubanel or green pepper finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
6 grape tomatoes chopped or 1 small tomato chopped
1 recaito frozen cube homemade or 1 1/2 tbsp store bought recaito
10 spanish olives stuffed with pimento (manzanilla olives)
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 can (7 0z.) pureed pimientos morrones (roasted red bell peppers in brine)
1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
2 cups of good quality chicken broth
3 cups of water
1 potato diced or 6 baby potatoes peeled and cut in half
3/4 cup of white rice or parboiled rice
1/2 cup frozen sweet green peas
1. In a med-large heavy bottom sauce pan, heat olive oil (med) and saute the seasoned pieces of chicken. About 5-8 minutes.
2. Add onions and green pepper and saute for about 3 minutes.
3. Add minced garlic and saute for about 3 more minutes.
4. Add recaito ice cube, tomatoes, olives and tomato sauce. Saute for about 5 minutes.
5. Add white wine, pureed pimentos and salt. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
6. Add chicken broth, water and potatoes. Let stew simmer for 25 minutes covered.
7. Add 1 cup of rice and cook for 15 minutes covered.
8. Add sweet green peas and cook for 5 more minutes covered. At this point add more water if you want the Asopao to have a more liquid. Serve with side of tostones and avocado.
I know this might not be a pretty dish to photograph, but trust me it is very good. We all want to make recipes that are both tasty as well as convenient. This recipe is inspired by my brother’s mother in law, Inés. A few years ago, I went to visit my brother and she had just arrived with a succulent homemade chicken pie. She was kind enough to offer me a slice and I must tell you it was absolutely delicious! She explained to me how she made it and which ingredients she used. The following week, I made my own version and the results were pretty good. I had tried chicken pie before, but most of the time they had either a creamy or gelatinous sauce. This version has a veggie-tomato sauce that adds more flavor and the potatoes give it structure.
Later on, I improved my technique when my father in law passed away and my mother in law came to live with us for a while. For many months, she received visits from friends that wanted to accompany her in this time of grief. During this period, I always had Chicken Pie in the fridge for unexpected visitors which I re-heated in the microwave and served as a light lunch or mid-afternoon snack with a side of salad. Most of the visitors asked for more.
This dish is also a great alternative for picnics and boat trips. I bake it at home and cover it with foil paper and plastic wrap, then serve at room temperature or re-heat it in the oven or microwave a few days later. Here is my version of Savory Chicken Pot Pie.
Savory Chicken Pie
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large chicken breasts cut in strips seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 medium golden potato peeled and cubed (1×1 inch)
1 carrot peeled and finely sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp cubanel or green pepper
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (pureed)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sweet green peas frozen
2 pie crusts for nine inch pie dish ( I use Pillsburry brand or make your own)
egg wash optional
1. In a med-large saute pan, heat oil med-high. Add seasoned chicken breasts to sear and brown a little. This will take a few minutes.
2. Add wine to deglaze pan and add potatoes. Bring heat to medium.
3. Immediately, add carrots, onions, garlic and green peppers. Saute until onion is transluscent.
4. Add pureed tomatoes, salt and oregano and cover for 20 minutes (in med-low heat) or until potatoes are tender when you press with a fork. Add sweet green peas and stir for a few minutes. Set aside. Tip: Check a few times to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If so add more water.
5. Heat oven at 425º F. Place bottom of pie crust for a 9 inch pie dish in diameter and fill with chicken/vegetable “stew”. Bring sides in. Carefully place top of pie and press down to close “lid” of pie. Cut slits with a sharp knife to vent. Egg wash is optional.
6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. You may refrigerate up to 1 week.
My Arroz con Pollo recipe is influenced by a mixture of recipes and tips I have picked up along the way and is the result of trials and errors in the kitchen. Arroz con Pollo is a one pot dish that feeds a large group and is excellent to make on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner. Sometimes we have unexpected guests on weekends and we usually make this dish. Easy, simple and delicious. Everyone gathers around the kitchen area and is enthralled with the aromas that fill the house while this dish is being made. This Arroz con Pollo has a distinct flavor which makes it special and different. The result is a “wet rice” similar to a Paella. You may use a whole chicken or boneless chicken breasts. It serves approximately 12 persons.
Arroz con Pollo
1/2 cup canola oil
6 chicken breasts cut into 1×2 inch filets or 2 whole chicken (cut in pieces)
1 tsp of adobo
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cubanel pepper finely chopped
2 cans of whole pimentos pureed (7 oz each)
4 oz tomato sauce
2 tbsp juice of naranja agria (bitter orange) OPTIONAL
2 tbs salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves (hoja de laurel)
4 generous cups of extra long grain rice
2 cans of Pilsner or light yellow beer (12 oz each)
generous pinch of saffron threads (add to beer and allow to bloom for about 15 minutes)
2 cups chicken stock
8 oz petit pois (green peas)
1 can of asparagus spears 15 oz
1. Season chicken pieces with adobo. In a large caldero or heavy bottom saute pan heat oil (med-hi) and saute chicken brown it a little.
2. Add onions, garlic and peppers and saute until trasluscent.
3. Add bay leaves, salt, pepper, pureed pimentos, tomato sauce and bitter orange and saute for about 10 minutes.
4. Add rice and mix with all ingredients.
5. Add beer and saffron mixture along with chicken stock and cook uncovered until liquid evaporates. Stir with a slotted spoon.
6. Bring heat to low and cover to cook until done. Once the rice grain is tender decorate with green peas, asparagus and slices of pimentos and cover again for about 5 minutes. Turn heat off and serve.