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Friday, August 20, 2010

Flavorful beans/rice/meat

I made this for dinner and thought I'd share. It was an instant favorite when I first tasted it sometime after moving to NYC. :)

Start by making "Sofrito".
(Here is my modified version as I can't get all the original ingredients (ajises, recaito) outside of NYC.)

3 bunches of cilantro
1 can mild green chili's
1 lg white onion
1/2-1 bell pepper
6 cloves garlic
olive oil to liquefy
1 tsp of original "Adobo" seasoning
(You can add in red bell pepper or pimentos if you choose. I do not.)
Puree it all together. It will fill a blender. I store it in quart-sized ziplocs frozen flat and chop off what I need. (One recipe make about 3 ziplocs divided evenly.) I like a lot of flavor so I use at 1/3 to 1/2 of a frozen bag for each recipe.

Sofrito can be used as a seasoning base not only for rice and beans, but also for meat dishes- like pork roast, or arroz con pollo.


To make beans and rice-

Dump one can of black beans (my favorite! Or pink beans, or kidney, or chick peas, or white beans) into a pot on med heat.

Add in the sofrito (frozen or thawed), a good dose of oregano (like at least a TBSP of dried) and a touch of olive oil.

Dump in one 8 oz. can of Spanish style tomato sauce if you can get it or just regular if you cannot. (Alternatively, you can use 3 'ice cubes' of frozen tomato paste. I have come to prefer this method over tomato sauce.)

Add in a ham packet (Goya ham flavored concentrate) and a Goya Sazon (accent mark over the 'e') packet. (These both contain MSG. You can add in some small bits of ham in place of the ham packet, and the sazon packet has some garlic, cumin and coriander.)

Simmer for a couple minutes on low for flavors to blend.

Add to pot 4 cups of water, stir, then add in 2 cups rice. Give a stir, let sit for a couple minutes, then stir again then DON'T touch for the rest of the cooking time. Turn to low. It's done when the rice is cooked.
My Puerto Rican friends tend to let the water boil down to the top of the rice then cover- but the rice is a bit drier that way- which we do not prefer.


If you were to make Arroz con Pollo (Chicken w/ rice) you follow the same basic directions with these modifications:

Leave out the beans.
Get 6 leg quarters (with skin) and cut at joint and I also cut off the last 1" or so of the drum bone.

Dredge chicken in some Adobo and oregano and minced garlic. Brown in the sofrito/tom. sauce (or paste)
/oregano/oil mix.

Follow the rest of the recipe as written. You can add in chicken bullion granules with the water or use chicken broth in place of the water. With meat in the pot I do add in more sofrito- doubleing what I'd use for rice and beans, and Oregano. I also double the 2 flavor packets.

I am not one who typically leaves the skin on chicken. I do not eat it, BUT in this recipe the bones and skin make a huge difference and are much more authentic. I have tried it with chicken breasts both with and w/o bone and they are always pretty dry. The dark meat is the best! (I only like dark meat in this recipe and in the form of BBQ'd chicken.)

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