Sunday, February 3, 2008

Arroz con Pollo (Panama)

Zola: Swiss is one of my dearest friends in the world - the closest thing I have to a sister. She's cute as pie and can be mean as a snake. There's no bullshit about her and she's loyal beyond measure. She has also - for some godforsaken reason - gone and moved to Kansas so I miss her all the time. This food tasted like hanging out in her apartment. It brought back memories of late nights, punk rock clubs, a closet full of Black Label, a pretty black Comet, and learning to cook good food. Cheers, Swiss!

Swiss: My childhood food memories are few and far between because both my parents worked full time. For the children, it was a fend for yourself thing–a Lord of the Flies meets the latch-key kids.

My parents were hippies. The only groceries their species comprehended were those that took excessive preparation. This was daunting for a kid. Hippie-dippy-coop-food takes hours to cook. It was a nightmarish endeavor full of soaking, peeling, and foraging in the garden out back. To this day, I don't know how to grocery shop for a quick fix meal, i.e., something that is healthy and instant yet not sheer junk. I sometimes observe other peoples' carts hoping to find the answer to my shopping dilemma, but all that obese Midwesterners seem to consume is wretched processed shit.

I was making crepes and chocolate eclairs when I was five so you would think I could always come up with a great meal. Not so much. Each year I had one meal that sounded consistently good to me in case my mother "created" a dish that was repellent. One year it was cold cereal. After that it was tuna sandwiches or maybe peanut butter and honey. But, thank God, sometimes my dad would make dinner due to my mothers failed experiments. My father's kitchen rescues contributed to one of my finest food memories: Arroz con Pollo. He learned the recipe growing up in panama where his father was an engineer during the construction of the canal. I finally got to visit Panama the early 90's. It was great; endless rum drinks and world class empanadas. Best of all, was a little restaurant on the beach that served authentic Arroz con Pollo. It might have been the setting, but I swear it was the best thing that I have ever had. It was different than what I was accustomed to, and there must be hundreds of variations, but this is mine, which in my opinion, is a quick and perfect dinner:

Arroz con pollo

2T oil

1 onion

2 ribs of celery

2 carrots

1 bell pepper (if you like them)

2 thighs and 2 legs

1cup rice

1 bay leaf

1/2t turmeric

salt& pepper

2t chicken base + 1 ½ cups water or 1 ½ cups of chicken stock

1/4 cup peas

1/4 cup green olives

1/4 cup golden raisins chopped (whole raisins are gross)

cut onions, celery and carrots into 1/4 inch dice

heat oil in a pot, salt, pepper and turmeric chicken

brown the chicken then remove from pot drain off excess oil

saute onions, celery and carrots for 2 minutes

add the rice and bay leaf for another minute

put the chicken back into the pot

add chicken stock

bring to a boil, stir

turn down to low and cover for 35 minutes

then add the peas, olives and raisins

let sit for five minutes

(By all means, smother in sirachi)


lauren said...


I can't/won't get broken-down chickens, though, since all my meat (except lunchmeat) comes from the farmers' market ... will it work if we break down a whole chicken and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly?

My quick-fast-healthy grocery store meal is basically spaghetti carbonara, but without bacon and with penne instead of spaghetti and with steamed broccoli mixed in. Sometimes I slice and pan-fry a sausage and mix that in as well. So really the only similarity to carbonara is that you grate parmesan and beat some eggs and stir the hot noodles into that for insta-sauce.

Guy & Zola said...

Yeah - break down a chicken and adjust. Plus that way, you can make it especially pollo-y. mmm. pollo-licious.

I like the carbonara sauce too - i usually roast baby tomats and throw that in with my sauce.

Anonymous said...

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- Daniel

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