This is a super simple meal but left a lasting impression on me. This day started off with hiking through the El Yunque forest in Puerto Rico, then rappelling off a 50 foot cliff, and finishing off with zip lining over breathtaking views of the mountains. The excursion concluded not with a restaurant styled meal but a home cooked lunch prepared by the tour guide’s grandmother. Maybe it was because we were starving from the long day, maybe it was because I was surrounded by the company of dear friends, whatever it was, it was hands down one of the best meal I had on this island. The long table was filled with heaping plates of fried chicken, served with white rice, stewed red beans, and tostones dipped in mayo ketchup sauce. The nature of this recipe makes a generous amount, best enjoyed with friends and family 🙂
Ingredients for Chicken
3 Lbs of chicken dark meat (I mixed thighs and drumsticks)
3/4 cup of Sofrito (store bought)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp of mushroom seasoning (can be found in Asian markets, I used this to substitute Adobo/Sazon due to the MSG content)
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
4 Tbsp Olive oil to fry
Cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
Directions: Combine all the seasonings together in a large bowl or ziplock bag, mix well. Then add chicken to coat, marinate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place chicken in an oven safe baking pan and bake covered for about 20 minutes. Heat a large deep skillet with olive oil and fry the chicken until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side. If chicken is not brown, you can deglaze the pan by adding water to it and cook until evaporated, turning the chicken around to absorb the color. Tip: de-boned chicken thighs cook fairly quick and easy vs drumsticks. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.
4 cups of cooked red beans (I used Central American red beans for their high protein/ high fiber content). If using canned beans, rinse and drain. If cooking the beans yourself, reserve about half of the water
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup of Sofrito
1 medium yellow potato, diced into 1 inch pieces (I used Yukon Gold)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of mushroom seasoning
1 tsp of garlic powder or fresh minced garlic
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of liquid smoke (substitute for ham since I don’t eat red meat)
3 Tbsp of Spanish pimiento stuffed Manzanilla Olives
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of salt and black pepper
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Parsley to garnish
Directions: Heat olive oil in a medium pot olive medium heat, add sofrito, garlic, and onion powder, cook for about 2-3 minutes to release the flavor. Then add the remaining ingredients (except for parsley), and enough water to cover about 1 inch of the beans/potatoes, and cook covered 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with white rice.
This is the Spanish version of french fries, super easy to make and super addictive.
Green Plantains (peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces. These can be tough to peel, use your knife if necessary)
2 cups oil (or enough for frying)
salt to taste
Directions: Heat oil over medium heat in deep pan. Fry green plantains for about 2 minutes each side, remove and place on paper towel to absorb the oil. Take the plantains and place on the plantain presser (I found this at an international market, if you can’t find this, use a flat plate to press), press down until you get a flat disc.
Return to frying pan for 1-2 minutes each side. Remove and place on paper towel, sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt. Serve with Mayo/Ketchup sauce (2:1) with a pinch of garlic powder, mix well.