Tonight after a great workout, I had to think of what I can possibly have for dinner, all while watching my budget. It was made all the more easier, once I thought of this dish I have not made in about a year, if I’m not mistaken. This dish was long over do no doubt. I was like a kid in a candy store tonight while making this dish, knowing how amazing this dish can be when done right. And I must admit, I do make this dish right. It’s simple and respectful of budget minded people like my self, not to mention that an entire family can be fed for pennies. This was one of my favorite dishes when growing up and still is for me today. Here’s how I did it!
whole chicken cut up or chicken thighs and legs
4 oz can tomato sauce (goya or other)
fresh cracked pepper
garlic powder (optional)
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 medium onion diced
6 sprigs fresh cilantro minced
2 fresh bay leaves (or dry)
3 tbs olive oil
Wash and pat dry the chicken before seasoning. I used drum sticks and thighs for this recipe, but I’ve made this recipe for years with a cut up whole chicken. Either works fine. It made more sense to me to make this recipe using smaller parts, as the price was right. Place the chicken part on a board and season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper from a mill. (Please don’t use that stuff from the can!). You can also dust the chicken with a sparing dusting of garlic powder for a hint of it and added flavor. Remember that there will be plenty of fresh garlic going into the pot. Heat a cocotte or 6 or 8 quart cast iron pot. Add the olive oil. Add the chicken parts and brown off. Don’t over crowd your pot. Do it in batches if you run out of room. Whilst the chicken is browning, prep your sofrito of onion, garlic and cilantro. Once the chicken is nicely browned off on all sides, deglaze the bottom of the pot with a bit of water or white wine and even a splash of vinegar, if you have some on hand. I used water and it worked perfectly. With a wooden spatula or spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to get up all of those amazing flavors from the bottom. This is real flavor and you need to introduce that back into the stock. Allow that to cook off just a minute. Now add your sofrito, and cook off for a couple of minutes too. Once sautéed for a couple minutes, add the tomato sauce and cook for an extra 3-4 minutes. Do not burn! stir once or twice to keep from sticking and also, to incorporate the flavors. Now add the chicken parts and 1 cup of water. Mix well to incorporate all of the chicken with the jus and sauce and cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. A traditional way to make this stew, is to add cubed potatoes and or carrots. I’ve made both methods and it is lovely and wonderful. This time I skipped the potatoes as I have another recipe planned for the few potatoes I have on hand. Always thinking ahead. Serve this with a hot bowl of white rice and you are good to go. I think that covers it. Enjoy!