Saturday, May 1, 2010

Telex From Cuba

My book club met at my house the other night. I've been in this group for about 16 years and look forward to our monthly meetings. Our group is now 9 woman, all mothers, and all good cooks. We meet at someone's home and all bring part of the meal. The hostess decides the menu and gives assignments or directions. We've had some pretty amazing meals along with some great books and discussions.

We read Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner this month which I recommend. I decided to make arroz con pollo because they mentioned it in the book and it's a good dish for a crowd. The rest of the menu went like this:

black bean mango salsa with tortilla chips by Jennifer
ceviche in an avocado half by Annalisa
spinach salad with strawberries, mango and pomegranate seeds by Adeline
seasoned black beans by Jan
tostones or garlic plaintains and maduros or sweet plaintains picked up by Megan from Sol Food
arroz con pollo by me
lemon curd tartlets with fresh berries by Annalisa

It was a feast washed down with white wine. We didn't discuss the book much but had a wonderful time and missed our 3 MIA members, Trish, Flip and Victoria. Next month our book is set in India, I believe. Yum, Indian food.

The arroz con pollo I made is a combination of 2 recipes, one I got from Jan years ago (origin unknown) and 1 from the San Francisco Chronicle, too long ago to give proper credit.

My version of arroz con pollo:

4 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed and fat trimmed, season with salt and pepper
2 bone in chicken breasts, skin removed, season with salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
32 oz. box chicken stock or broth (I used Swanson Natural Goodness Broth)
1 10 oz bag of frozen peas
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a large pan with lid that can go from stove to oven. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Brown chicken pieces on both sides until golden about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Saute onion until softened. Turn down the heat or add more oil if necessary. Add garlic and saute about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes. Add about 3/4 of the broth, the spices and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer about 10 minutes. Cover tightly and bake for 50 minutes. Add the peas and the remaining broth. Cook another 10 minutes. Check rice for doneness and seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Let dish rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut the breasts in half. I served it in the pan family style but you could take out the chicken, put the rice in a bowl and arrange the chicken on top to serve.


1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of the ceviche in an avocado half. I usually put lots of avocado in my ceviche, but that's such a great idea!