the Great Recipe Experiment: #5-Asopao de Pollo

This post is brought to you by the letters “Y,” “U,” “M,” “M,” and “Y.”  And the number 3.  Let’s use those in a sentence.  “This meal is 3 kinds of yummy.”  Good!

This may actually be my favorite of the experiments so far.  Granted, there have only been 5–so far—but this is still one of my top ones.  My fabulous cousin Carmen picked this Puerto Rican chicken and rice stew to try out; I made it as dinner for Josh and myself tonight and bundled up a bunch to take her for lunch.  This dish is not only tasty, it’s informative.  It’s taught me at least 3 yummy things.

1.  There’s such a thing as “annatto oil,” which is made by infusing oil with achiote seeds .  It’s used to flavor and color foods in South American cooking.  I didn’t actually use it here.  I used olive oil.  But good to know it’s possible.

2.  Sofrito is awesome.  Sofrito is another thing I didn’t know about before this recipe.  It’s a sauce made with tomato and onion and it’s the base of lot of Puerto Rican dishes.  You can make it yourself or buy it jarred from the store, like I did, in the Hispanic aisle at the grocery store.  It smells fantastic.  It tastes fantastic.  And how could it not?  This particular one has tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, onion and herbs.  I am very much looking forward to trying it out in other recipes.

3.  This one-dish meal is super filling, pretty cheap and layered with flavor.  Chicken and rice stew is bland no more.  Nay, it is tomato-y and delicious!

You can make this yourself, in a little over a half an hour.  You can.  You too.  Yep, even you, Sophia.  I know you’re reading this.  Do not fear the succulent savorings that await you.  Do not fear the chicken.

I will admit that I made one major omission, on purpose: I skipped the alcaparrado, which is a mixture of green olives, pimentos and capers, mostly because neither Josh nor I are fans of green olives, pimentos or capers.  Not at all.  If you do like those things, you’ll want to add them in; I’m sure they add just another good layer of flavor (good for you, anyway…not good for me).

I also want to point out that this recipe says to use a “large nonstick skillet.”  Well I did that.  And it was fine.  Until I got to the part where they say to “Add in 15oz of chicken stock and 4 cups of water.”  Apparently when they say “large skillet,” they really mean large skillet.  Like just a giant freaking skillet.  Which I didn’t have.  Well, I didn’t have one that had a lid.  So I just poured the goodness into a large pot and then added all the liquids.  Should I have anticipated that before hand?  Yes.  Did I?  No.  What have we learned here?  “You’re gonna need a bigger pan.”

Asopao de Pollo
from CookingLight–makes 5 servings (serving size: 2 thighs and 1 3/4 cups rice mixture)

1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), skinned
2 tablespoons Annatto Oil or olive oil
1 1/2 cups Sofrito
3/4 cup diced plum tomato
1 1/2 cups uncooked medium-grain rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup diced lean ham (about 2 ounces)
1 (4.4-ounce) bottle alcaparrado, drained, or 3/4 cup pitted green olives and 1/4 cup capers
4 cups water
1 (15.75-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with the oregano mixture.

Heat Annatto Oil [or olive oil]  in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook 8 minutes, turning once. Reduce heat to medium. Add Sofrito and tomato; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add rice, wine, ham, and alcaparrado; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the water and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the peas, and cook for 5 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Eat, enjoy.  Well, we enjoyed it.  A lot.  Will Carmen?  We’ll see….

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2 thoughts on “the Great Recipe Experiment: #5-Asopao de Pollo

  1. Sophia

    OMG, this looks so delicious, I think I can smell it. I will attempt to make it this weekend, but only b/c you said even I could do it. Is it like the caveman commercials, should I get mad and offended?

  2. Lauren Post author

    Of course not :-) Although I do love those cavemen commercials.

    Tell me how it comes out!!

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