Monday, October 25, 2010

Estofado de Pollo Con Patatas (Chicken and Potato Stew)

Earlier this year I made a delicious Catalan style beef and potato stew , I had learned from Nuria's blog "Spanish Recipes" called "Estofado de Ternera Con Patatas", one of my readers "Fernando" commented asking me if he could substitute chicken for the beef, I thought a chicken variation of this would be delicious and so with the weather slowly cooling I decided to make it. It was different, but equally delicious :)

Like I said in the post for the beef version, if you love gravy, potatoes, and chicken this dish is for you. Served over a mountain of steaming white rice this dish is another one of those comfort foods.


-1 whole chicken cut into segments (your choice how you want to cut it, I cut it into bite sizes)
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste
-flour to dust chicken
-extra-virgin olive oil (about 1/4- 1/2 cup)
-1 onion minced
-4 cloves garlic minced
-1 carrot, peeled, minced
-1 large ripe tomato very finely minced or grated
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp dried thyme (or 3 fresh sprigs)
-1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1-2 fresh sprigs)
-4 large potatoes peeled, cut into large chunks
-2 tsp chicken bouillon powder (optional)
-water enough to cover all ingredients
-1/2 cup frozen peas (you can use fresh too)

(1) Like always don't forget, clean/ wash your chicken well, cut into segments, season it with salt and pepper (I used about 2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper), coat the chicken in flour and shake off excess.
(2) In a large deep- pan heat generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil over medium high heat, brown the chicken on all sides (be patient you can chop everything while doing this), set chicken aside.

(3) In same pan add onion, carrot, garlic and sautee for 5-7 minutes until translucent,
add grated tomato, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano allow everything to cook together until the tomato is reduced and loses it's liquid it'll start frying in the oil about 5-7 more minutes.
(4) Add wine raise heat stir well and reduce it by about half. Now throw your chicken, add water enough to cover all ingredients (you may want to have your water already heated up and boiling in a seperate pot to speed things up), bring to a boil, add potatoes, chicken bouillon, taste for salt and add more if needed.
(5) Allow everything to cook together 30 minutes, on medium low heat, after 30 minutes, stir in your peas, let it come to a boil then turn off. Ready to serve :)
So after making the chicken variation I had an idea, this dish would also be delicious if you omitted the potatoes and instead added some sliced button mushrooms towards the last 5 minutes of cooking... mmmmm.... next time I'll do it... wait sounds like "Chicken in Mushroom Sauce" to me :D ... wait there's a beef dish called "Fricando" (Catalan beef and mushrooms) maybe I'm on to something ha ha yeah I'm a dork sorry lolz. well more future posts to come :D

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jarritos Soda Review

"Jarritos" is a brand of soda's very popular in Mexico and among the Mexican community both in Mexico and in Southern California.

Awhile back I was contacted by Jarritos and asked if I could review, and sample some of their flavors and let my readers know what I thought about them, and honestly I was kinda honored and happy, and decided to give an honest review. I was sent a package of 11 flavors Mango, Strawberry, Guava, Grapefruit, Lemon Lime, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Pineapple, Tamarind, Mandarin, and Lime. Along with a cute little shirt, and a paisa music CD ha ha (thanks :)

My mother remembers growing up with these, and so do I. What sets Jarritos aside from typical American soda's? For starters they come in a very very wide array of flavors, sweetened with 100% natural white cane sugar/ no HFCS/ High Fructose Corn Syrup, they aren't overly sweet, usually more mild and light tasting, and often times taste very close to the flavor they are representing
Mango- this was a favorite! EVERYONE LOVED IT! It tasted just like a large, fresh, sweet, ripe, fragrant, juicy mango. It felt so natural, everything was just perfect. If you've never tasted a mango before this is what it taste like :) LOVE IT! and this is coming from someone who isn't a fan of soda.
Strawberry- tastes like Shasta strawberry soda, except it's made with real 100% cane sugar
Guava/ Guayaba- I was shocked that this wasn't my favorite, so was my grandmother/ Tata (I split it with her) because being of Cuban descent like we say "nos corre la guayaba por la sangre" (guava runs through our veins) we love almost EVERYTHING GUAVA, juices, shakes, sweets, cakes, cookies, pastries, marmalade's even fresh EVERYTHING guava we usually like. However the problem we had is we felt it wasn't sweet enough, it lacked sweetness in our opinion, but then again we are used to consuming Guava usually saturated in sugar (syrups, preserves, marmalade's, pastes, and incorporated in sweets, and when fresh very ripe and red) We felt the Guava taste was just too light for our liking.
Grapefruit/ Toronja- think of carbonated grape fruit juice, sweetened but still kept it's bitterness (which for me is a good thing because I love grape fruit it's tart, bitter, and sweet all at once) if you love grape fruits you'll enjoy this :)
Lima Limon- it tastes more like 7-up. It isn't as acidic as 7-up, it's more sweet, not overly sweetened however and it just captures the sweetness a lemon has, any hints of sweetness one would experience from a lemon has been isolated here. (I actually used another bottle of this to make a Vietnamese dish called "Thit Kho Tau" (Caramelized Pork and Egg) substituted the coconut soda for the Lima Limon soda, great results)
Fruit Punch- tasted like carbonated American Fruit Punch/ Koo laid, not overly sweet. If you like Koo laid, and not to sweetened you'll be a fan of this one.
Hibiscus/ Jamaica- my older sister said it tasted like "something rotted inside of it" she wasn't a fan of it. And we've tried real Jamaica/ Hibiscus, and my younger 11 year old sister said it tasted like sweet and sour water not so sweet though. I tried it myself, there was a hint of sourness but nothing strong, the taste was a very light hibiscus taste almost watered down, light hints of sweetness but some acidity and an off taste resembling Durian.
Pineapple/ Pina- it's my younger sister's second favorite, it doesnt really taste like pineapple, just floral fragrant hints of pineapple.

Tamarind/ Tamarindo - this is my mother's favorite, it has all of the elements of tamarind, pungent, sour, puckery but balanced with just the right amount of sugar. If your Mexican/ Hispanic and you love Tamarind, or the "Agua Frescas" made from Tamarind, if your in the mood for a soda grab this one you won't be disappointed

Mandarin- doesn't really taste like mandarin, tastes more like an orange.
Lime- tastes like a sweeter version of sprite.
Last Minute Note:
We don't drink all of the Jarritos soda's but the one's that we usually and almost always buy is the Tamarind one, it's my mother's favorite and everyone enjoys it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Arroz Caldoso Con Pollo (Soupy Rice with Chicken)

In Spanish "Arroz" means rice, and "Caldoso" means soupy, so direct translation would be "Soupy Rice" "con" means with and "pollo" well everyone knows this it's chicken :D

In Spanish cuisine as in Spain soupy rice dishes like this can be cooked with almost anything pork ribs, chicken, seafood, etc. it's essentially in it's most basic form rice with a sofrito (sautee of onion, garlic, bell pepper sometime tomato) with a lot of liquid and some spices married with your choice of protien.

Cuban Cuisine shares the same type of dish except it's called "a la Chorrera" (see my post for "Arroz Amarillo Con Camarones a la Chorrera" for explanation ha ha) and can be thicker reason it's shared is because back before the communist pigs took over Cuba in 1959 a large proportion of Cuba's population were "Criollos" and Spaniards (meaning Cubans born of almost pure Spanish ancestry, example my grandmother is from Spain and my grandpa is Cuban born of Spaniard parents)

So here's my recipe similar to my Tata's (see note below)

-1 whole chicken, cut into segments, cleaned/ rinsed well, skin on, bone in
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 onion chopped
-1 green or red bell pepper chopped
-1/2 head garlic minced
-1 carrot, peeled cut into rounds (optional I use it to add some sweetness and more color)
-2 large tomatoes finely chopped or grated
-12 cups water
-2 cups short-grain rice
-2 bay leaves
-1 teaspoon cumin
-2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder (optional but makes it more savory/ adds umami)
-salt to taste
-colorante/ bijol, or saffron your choice (to make the porridge a golden yellow)

Optional for garnishing purposes:
-handful or peas for garnish
-fire roasted red bell pepper strips for garnish

(1) Heat extra-virgin olive oil on medium high, add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and carrot sautee until translucent, add tomato stir well,

(2) Throw water, bay leaves, cumin, salt, the saffron or bijol, and the optional chicken bouillon powder. Bring to a boil, throw your chicken cut in segments and cleaned in and let boil on medium low for 20 minutes covered.

(3) After 20 minutes, add your short- grain rice, bring to a rolling boil, give a good stir, and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes, giving a good stir and scraping the bottom so it doesn't stick every 10 minutes.

(4) It's done as it cools it thickens, don't expect it to be real real soupy it's more like a thick porridge,
Garnish if you'd like I only had peas on hand no fire roasted red bell pepper
Remove from heat, serve with a salad and if your not watching your carbs or weight some good crusty bread, this picture was me and my Tata enjoying lunch :)

-Using skin-on bone in chicken makes a world of a difference for these types of dishes.

Grandmother's Variation:
-My Tata does this slightly different, she simply throws everything in the pot minus the olive and rice, boils everything together 20 then she adds the rice gives it a good stir and let's it cook an additional 30 minutes turns off another good stir and it's ready. Most people however I've seen sautee the aromatics I do too. My grandma's logic "Asi lo hacia mi papa a lo gallego, y tambien el pollo con piel y todo ya tiene bastante grasa igual si lo aces con costilla no tienes que acer sofrito asi queda bien y igual de rico" translates to "That's how my dad did it the care free simple way, the chicken already has plenty of fat and same thing if you make it with pork ribs, you don't have to sautee in aromatics it comes out just fine"

From now on every time I want thick porridge like rice and chicken I will make it this same exact way because it was the best "a la Chorrera" type of rice and chicken dish I've had! Trust me it's simple but something about boiling the chicken for a while in the water forming a stock, and everything just simmering together for an appropriate amount of time gave a WOW flavor.

For the dry version see "Arroz Con Pollo en forma de Paella"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Escabeche na Galunggong (Pinoy Redtail Scadfish in Sweet and Sour Sauce)

The first time I had this dish was at my Pinoy friends house Shantall :) she made a delicious Escabeche using a delicious Silver Pomfret. So let me explain what it is in the first place.To Filipinos (this is just based on my observation) "Escabeche" is a deep-fried fish, in a sweet and sour sauce that can be either thin like a water consistency or thick like gravy with colorful strips of vegetables.

The fish can either be simmered in the sauce with no thickener in which it will lose it's crisp but absorb it really well, and the other is have a crispy fried fish and pour a thickened version of the sauce so you have a crispy fried fish glazed and coated in a sweet and sour sauce.
(see the notes at the end of this for details) I however chose to make it with thickener this time. I got the idea from "Overseas Pinoy" (I love that blog) however the recipe I'm using is Shantalls recipe I simply used the technique I saw at overseas pinoy's which was to pour a thickened version of the sauce over fried fish and served immediately


-2-3 lbs Redtail Scad fish (deep-fried or pan-fried)
-salt to season fish
-1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
-1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced
-1 carrot cut into match sticks
-2 stalks celery cut thin diagnolly into thin strips (optional)
-1/2 onion thinly sliced
-2 inches of peeled ginger root cut into thin rounds or thinly julienned (if you like to eat the ginger root thinly julienne it if not then cut it into rounds)
-4 cloves garlic minced
-1/4 cup soy sauce (more or less to taste)
-1/4 cup white vinegar (more or less to taste)
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar (more or less to taste)
-salt to taste
-1 1/2 cups water
-1- 2 tablespoons cornstarch diluted in 1/4- 1/2 cup water
-chopped cilantro or scallions to garnish (optional)

(1) Have your fish well cleaned (scaled, gutted, black layer of inside skin removed, wash well pat dry), season both the inside and outside liberally with salt, set aside for 15 minutes.

(2) Meanwhile in a bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water set aside. Chop all your vegetables and set aside your garlic, ginger, and onion seperately.
(3) Set wok to high heat, when it smokes add your oil, and heat it until a chop-stick or piece wooden utinsil bubbles when dipped into it. Add your fish in batches and deep-fry your red tail scad fish, on one side 5 minutes then flip on the other side 5 minutes (please be careful it will splatter)
drain out and set aside in paper towels, when done with all the batches transfer to a deep dish.
(4) Carefully pour oil out of wok into a large bowl to cool, or strain it into a glass jar (be careful I am impatients and do it while hot, however you can leave the oil there to cool and then discard it I honestly re-use it to fry fish after straining)

(5) Now heat oil in a large deep- pan or wok, sautee ginger, garlic, and onion.
add soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar mixture bring to a rolling boil, add veggies let it break into a rolling boil again, then add cornstarch solution when thickened
pour over the fried fish the whole sauce and veggies and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro
(6) Ready to serve with rice. Serve immediately if you like it crispy :)
This can be done with any fish you like, it goes especially well with any variety of Pomfret (black or silver pomfret), Grouper (called Lapu-lapu sometimes), Redsnapper, Tilapia, almost any large white fleshed fish deep-fried whole or meaty medium sized fish (in this case I used six scadfish) to make your life easier you can buy a fish and have the store deep-fry it for you then bring it home and whip up the sauce, it is also good for leftover fried fish. Also in addition this may not be very traditional or how it's normally done but one could use fish filets, salt & pepper them, flour them and deep-fry arrange them in a platter and pour this delicious sauce over them :)

NOTES ON OPTIONS (I'm repeating myself but this is for those who didn't read it in the intro) :
My Pinoy bestie Shantall makes this dish with Silver Pomfret (also called Pompano), when she makes "Escabeche" she uses no thickener, the sauce is runny and light, and she adds the fish into the boiling sauce and let's it cook an additional 5 minutes in the sauce, 3 minutes into cooking the fried fish in the sauce she adds the vegetables 2 minutes then turns off. This produces a more flavorful fish but get's rid of the crunchy texture of the fried fish. Both are good the choices :)

Also another note (yes I haven't shut up yet lol) in my Spaniard/ Cuban culture side for us fish cooked in "Escabeche" means the fish is salted, floured and fried in olive oil, then preserved in a mixture of the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and spices. Usually sardines and smaller fish are prepared this way. See my post for "Sardinas en Escabeche" if interested :)