It is also a super-quick dinner. While I generally go for hyper-authenticity rather than speed, sometimes one has to rise to the occasion and use what is on hand. So, rather than achiote oil, which I don't have and don't care for, I used a pinch of turmeric which may or may not have a myriad of health benefits, but which we have in the house for Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Also, though traditionally made with a whole chicken, skinless, boneless chicken thighs are easier and less fatty than whole chicken and juicier and tastier than breasts. Finally, I made it with pareve soup powder, which is probably not an authentic Puerto Rican ingredient.
This takes about 45 minutes from beginning to end -- how I define quick and easy, if not everyone does.
Asopao de pollo -- Soupy chicken rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, trimmed and finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- large pinch turmeric
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
- 1 pound raw skinless, boneless chicken thighs, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 14 ounce can of chopped or diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted (with green chile or garlic is even better)
- 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and cut into half inch dice
- 1 red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into half inch dice
- Salt and pepper to taste. If using canned broth or soup powder, hold off on the salt until the end.
- 6 cups chicken broth (ideally homemade, but in the real world, boxed, canned or even soup powder is acceptable, and tonight I used a large spoon of Osem's pareve chicken soup powder with boiling water)
- 1/2 cup short grain rice, like Spanish rice, Arborio or Canaroli
- 1/2 cup green peas (presumably frozen -- if you have wonderful fresh peas, use them in something else)
- 1-2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 10-20 pimento stuffed green olives, rinsed and sliced
- 4 scallions, while and some of the green, sliced
- Heat olive oil in a 4-quart pot on medium heat.
- Add onions, carrot and celery to the pot and stir until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, cook about a minute, until soft but not borwned.
- Add turmeric, stir a few times, add half of the chopped herb, and then the chicken.
- Cook on medium-high until the chicken looses its raw color.
- Add the tomato, bring to the simmer, add the chopped peppers, turn heat down, and cook on low for 10 minutes.
- Add the broth, bring to the boil, and turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the peas, capers, and olives and simmer 5 minute more. Taste the rice to make sure that it is cooked through, and if not, simmer for a few minutes more.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and set aside to settle and cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with scallions and remaining herb.
- Serves 4 for dinner with a salad.