Spice it up with these treats

Published 12:37 am Saturday, September 6, 2014

In the September issue of ‘Food and Wine’ there was an interesting article about a chef in San Juan. I have never been to Puerto Rico but have it on my list of places to visit. This chef, Jose Enrique, was chosen by Food and Wine as the best new chef in 2013 (the first ever given from Puerto Rico). His food was said to be vibrant and thoughtful and his menu is updated several times a night even hourly. That I thought is very unusual. If a fisherman comes in with beautiful mackerel in the middle of dinner, he might glaze the fish with a citrus-ginger-chile mix, and boom! it is on the menu. On its busiest night, Jose Enrique’s restaurant might have 100 names on its wait list.

After reading this I had to do one of his recipes. I chose a chicken dish with rice since I had some organic chicken thighs in the refrigerator. It was a delicious dish. It did seem to have too much liquid but the short grain rice absorbed it all and was perfect. Alongside the avocado-green pea salsa you have a great dinner dish with a Latin flavor. This is a great one dish meal that will last for several days.

Taken from September 2014 ‘Food and Wine Magazine’

Arroz con Pollo with Avocado-Green Pea Salsa (chicken with rice)

Serves 6

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

One 3 ½ -pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used skinless chicken thighs)

Kosher salt and pepper

1 medium onion, minced

2 serrano chilies, seed and minced

2 garlic cloves. minced

3 plum tomatoes (1 lb.) cored and diced

½ tsp. ground cumin

Small pinch of saffron threads (I did not have any so I left out)

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup pilsner or light beer

2 cups short-grain rice (do not use long grain)

½ cup parsley

Hot sauce for serving if desired

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a very large, deep ovenproof skillet; heat the olive oil until simmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook skin side down over moderate heat, turning once, until nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, serranos and garlic to the skillet and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cumin and saffron and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and beer and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken into the rice and bake uncovered in the lower third of the oven for about 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed, the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Fluff the rice with a fork, then gently fold in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the skillet and serve with the Avocado-Green Pea Salsa and hot sauce.

Avocado-Green Pea Salsa

Serves 6

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas

1 small red onion, minced

¼ cup fresh lime juice

Kosher salt

3 Hass avocadoes-peeled, pitted and finely diced

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the peas until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain and cool under running water; then drain on paper towels.

In a bowl, mix the onion with the lime juice and ¾ teaspoon of salt; let stand for 10 minutes. Fold in the avocados, peas and oil, season with salt and serve.