Tag Archives: Costco

Pollo Borracho (Drunken Chicken)

15 Sep

Usually when I have several pounds of organic boneless chicken thighs from Costco, I make pollo guisado (Latin stewed chicken) and eat some now, freeze some for later in pint containers. Very convenient and beloved by all (must be the beer and wine that go into it?  https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/abuelitas-stew-comes-through-%C2%A1un-guiso/)

But I just didn’t feel like it. At. All. No, no, no.

So instead, I made about three pounds worth of Pollo Borracho or Drunken Chicken, so called because it incorporates whatever the local hooch is in your part of Latin America. In the following version, adapted from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrutia Randelman and Joan Schwartz (1992 Wiley Publishing),  the booze is white or light rum (I used Don Q Cristal, a Puerto Rican white rum, which is — by the way — the only acceptable rum for a Cuba Libre).

This recipe does take a long time to simmer, but the active part is very minimal and very basic. The texture is beautiful; it starts to shred of its own accord (I’m thinking quick black bean and chicken quesadillas…). Best of all, Leandro called me the best cook in the world after trying it (which means it is safe to pack the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow. Hurray!). I will experiment with freezing some for future reference!

Pollo Borracho

3 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs (you may use pretty much any chicken parts. Bone-in is fine, but do remove the skin)

¼-1/2 tsp salt

¼-1/2 tsp oregano

Black pepper to taste

4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, peeled and sliced thick

1 bay leaf

¼ Cup dry white wine

¼ Cup light or white rum

¾ Cup pimiento-stuffed green olives (about 20) drained

Wash the chicken and pat dry, then season with salt, oregano and pepper. Heat olive oil at medium high (in a large skillet that can accommodate all the chicken and that you can cover) until fragrant and then brown the chicken thoroughly on all sides. Remove chicken and reserve.

Lower the heat to medium low. Put onions and garlic in the skillet and sauté until wilted. Add bay leaf, wine, rum and olives. Stir to incorporate, then add chicken pieces, stir, cover and cook on low for 45 -60 minutes. If your skillet is oven-proof, you can cook it in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes instead. Remove the bay leaf and serve with white or yellow Latin rice.

NB: If you are more of a tequila person and want to get a bit more elaborate, try this Mexican recipe by my friend and inspiration, the peerless Zarela Martínez  http://www.zarela.com/2010/pollo-borracho-drunken-chicken/ It was one of the most-requested dishes at her eponymous Manhattan restaurant. It includes raisins and almonds!

Spag bog? Spag bol? Spaghetti Bolognese!

22 Jun

My dear Kate over in England thought I had made a spelling error when we were chatting via Facebook and I wrote “spag bog” as I was cooking this dish this week. I thought the same when she wrote “spag bol”. Turns out we are both correct in our not-quite-right-ness. According to The Times (UK), it has been called both bog and bol in England since the 1970s when Spaghetti Bolognese arrived in that country. The Times opines that the Brits were afraid to attempt to spell or pronounce it, so they shortened it to something more manageable for the English-speaking tongue.

Spag bog by any name would be a great pasta sauce. Basically a ground beef (mince, if we are sticking to U.K. parlance) and tomato sauce, there are probably almost as many versions as there are folks who make it. Marcella Hazan, a fantastic cookbook writer and teacher of Italian cookery, does a classic version that involves milk and suggests 5-6 hours of simmering. I used to make her version, when I was young and childless and didn’t need any sleep, but these days? Well, as you’ll see, this recipe is pared down to basics. Continue reading

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