WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
Puerto Rico is home to some of the most flavorful cuisine with a rich history inspired from cultures all over, starting with the Taino Indians (original settlers), which is why many Puerto Rican dishes contain yucca, pepper and corn. Spanish influences like olives and garlic were introduced, along with foods and styles of cooking from Mexico, Africa and Asia. Since immigrants from all over settled in Puerto Rico and had a heavy influence, the natives call their food Cocina Criolla, known as the Spanish settler cuisine.
SO…WHAT ARE YOU MAKING?
I decided to make one of the most traditional Puerto Rican dishes — asopao – a hearty one-pot dish made with chicken, shrimp, beef or pork, combined with the right veggies, a little fermented grapes and a lotta love. The dish dates back to the 1800s and today, this festive recipe is favored specifically around the holidays, but enjoyed all throughout the year.
This sauce is used in many Hispanic dishes and acts as a building block for asopao.
Step 1: Finely dice onion, red pepper, green pepper, garlic and cilantro
Step 2: Add olive oil to pan on medium-high heat and sauté the onion until golden. Add garlic, red pepper and green pepper — season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 7 minutes. Toward the end, add cilantro, and then stir in tomato paste.
Side Note: It’s hard to say the exact amount of seasoning – just keep adding and tasting until it reaches perfection. Rule of thumb – create a nice, visible layer of each seasoning over dish.
Step 3: Remove veggie mix from pan and add to blender along with ½ can of diced tomatoes. Blend mixture for about 45 seconds, and voila, you have Sofrito.
Step 1: Heat large pan on medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil
Step 2: Add chicken to pan and season on both sides with Goya Adobo, dried oregano, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Brown chicken — about 4 minutes each side
Step 3: Reduce heat to medium and add Sofrito, diced ham steak and white wine. When lightly pouring the wine, count to 4 Mississippi and stop. Stir frequently. Drink rest of wine.
Step 4: Add about ¼ cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup of water, peas, a handful of olives, chopped carrots and tomatoes. Sprinkle 1 packet of sazon over the dish and stir.
Step 5: Add rice and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to med-low. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until rice is soft. Stir occasionally.
On a time crunch? Use Uncle Ben’s ready rice – you won’t taste the difference.
Step 6: Serve with sliced avocado
Do you have a favorite Puerto Rican dish? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!