Puerto Rico: Asopao de Pollo
Asopao (that’s ah-so-POW) is a soup-stew that every Puerto Rican cook has a rendition of. The main seasoning is sofrito, the traditional Latino mix of aromatics and cilantro. It’s a quick, healthy, homey meal.
- 4 lb. chicken cut into 10 pieces
- 1 heaping tablespoon adobo seasoning (or make your own by mixing equal parts salt, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium sweet bell peppers, seeded and medium diced
- 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups natural chicken broth
- 1½ cups long grain white rice
- ¼ cup stuffed green olives
2. Make the sofrito. Roughly chop the cilantro, saving six nice sprigs for garnish. Put the cilantro, half the bell pepper, the onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse, then let the machine run to make a fine, pesto-like grind.
3. Put the casserole back over medium-high heat. Add the sofrito and sauté for three minutes to release its aroma. Do not brown it. Add the rice and stir to coat.
4. Add the chicken and all remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil. Cover snugly and set the heat to low. Allow to cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and allow the casserole to stand covered for five minutes before serving.
Something green? Cooked kale or Swiss chard would go well.
Wine: A light red like a Finger Lakes Cab Franc, Sangiovese Chianti-style wine or a Spanish or French Grenache.