This dish perfectly reflects the purpose of my blog, to showcase dishes that have to do with the people I am with and the places that make me want to cook a special meal.
I tasted this dish the first time – out of all places – in a Microsoft cafeteria but don’t start judging too early – yucky cafeteria food – this is not the case and truly an exception. The chef who makes this dish is actually from Venezuela and cooks it very authentic; it tastes so good that I wanted to give it a try and cook it myself.
I finally got the opportunity to cook this meal for a get together for 4 of our friends who celebrated my husbands 50’s birthday with us together in a little fishing town in Mexico, called Los Barriles. I wanted to cook something “Mexican” for our “re-union” and thought this would be a great dish, to find out that this dish isn’t Mexican at all (its origins are actually found in Spain, so closer to my homeland, but nevertheless its a big dish all over Latin America).
Here is how I prepared it:
I first put together this seasoning and rubbed in generously onto the chicken thighs (you can leave the bone in, I like to cook the meat without the bones, makes it easier to eat, but you can cook it with the bone and it really makes no difference) and let them sit for an hour in this spice rub. The spice amounts below will make more rub than you actually need, so either half it or store it in a little container and have it ready for your next use.
Adobo Spice Rub: 2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons granulated onion 1 teaspoon paprika 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper 2 teaspoons ground turmeric 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Then I chopped up the below:
Sofrito 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced 1 poblano pepper 3 garlic cloves
After that you start browning the chicken thighs in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon chili oil on medium high (I used 5 chicken thighs). Once the meat is nice and brown (after ca. 5 minutes) take out the meat and pour in your “sofrito mix” and brown it for 4-5 minutes, then add the rice (2 cups), chicken stock (2,5 cups), 1 bottle of Mexican/Spanish beer and the previously browned chicken. Stir and cover and let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. At the end pour in a cup of peas and since I don’t like olives, I added 1/2 a cup of already browned and crumbled up bacon – its very tasty and I think makes all the difference! And that wasn’t my idea, that’s how my Venezuelan friend cooks it!
We really couldn’t live without this tasty Mexican hot sauce, so if you like hot sauce put a couple dashes of hot sauce into the dish before you serve it. It looks nice if you decorate it with some cilantro and lime wedges.
As always, Guten Appetit!
For those of you interested to learn more about Los Barriles – take a look at this Facebook page, you can find great photos and get an idea about this very remote and authentic place.