Mini Dinner Party – More Down Home Cooking

 

dinner0125

I had mentioned previously that we would be having some dinner guest over last night.  It all went very well and the food came out wonderful.  On the menu I had Arroz con Gandules (Rice and Piegion Peas), Pollo Asado (Roasted Chicken) and Amarillos (Sweet Plantains) for the main dish.  For dessert I made my Bizcocho de Tres Leches (3 Milk Cake) again and served it with a cup of Cafe con Leche.  I always make my coffee with evaporated milk, it makes it sweet and creamy.

Below are the recipes:

Arroz con Gandules (Rice and Piegion Peas)

  • 2 cups short grain rice (rinsed) – long grain will work too
  • 4-5 cups of hot water – appx.
  • ½ cup ready made sofrito
  • 16 ounce can of gandules (cooked green pigeon peas)
  • 2 ounces diced smoked ham or sausage
  • 2 tablespoons of alcaparrado (cappers and olives mixed together)
  • 1 packet of Sazon with achiote
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

In a medium size caldero add the oil, tomato sauce, ham, alcaparrado, sofrito and sazon. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add all other ingredients, and enough water to cover the rice 1″ above the rice line. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt stir and keep adding and mixing well until you are satisfied with the taste. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until most of the water is absorbed. Once the water has been absorbed, stir gently from bottom to top – once or twice only, cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Stirring the rice after it has begun cooking may cause it go get sticky.

Any rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot is called “pegao” and is crispy and tasty and a favorite of all true Puerto Ricans. However, not everyone is skilled is making pegao – it is an art. To make great pegao make sure to use plenty of oil. Cook for about 10 minutes longer so the pegao gets crispy and keep your eye on it. Each time you cook rice – check to see how long it takes to make pegao just the way your family likes it. Finally – if you want a lot of pegao – use a bigger caldero which, of course, will have a larger bottom surface.

Pollo Asado (Roasted Chicken)

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • Mojo marinade (this can be bought in the store or you can make it yourself, recipe is below)
  • 1 large Spanish onion sliced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • envelope of Sazon with saffron

Skin and trim the chicken.  Marinade the chicken over night in the mojo, pour enought to almost cover all of the chicken. 

When ready to cook, pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray pan or dish with olive oil Pam. Mix the olive oil with the garlic powder and Sazon.  Brush over the chicken. Add sliced onions over top.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours, turning about halfway through. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, juices will run clear when pierced with a fork.

Mojo

  • 3 heads garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (whole)
  • 1 cup orange juice & 1/2 cup lemon juice & 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 cup Spanish olive oil

Mash garlic, salt and peppercorns, using a food processor. Stir in juice. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or longer at room temperature.

If making it without the oil – stop at this point and this makes a perfect marinade for seasoning, chicken, fish, pork &/or beef.

Continue with preparing the mojo with oil – after you have stirred in juice add onion & oregano. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or longer at room temperature.

In a saucepan heat olive oil to medium hot & then remove from heat. Whisk oil in garlic-juice mixture, until well blended.

Stores for at least a week in the refrigerator.

Amarillos (Fried Sweet Plantains)

  • 2 Ripe Plantains (they will be almost all black with some yellow and tender to the touch)
  • Canola Oil

Score the plantains on two sides (lengthwise), using a paring knife. Carefully peel the skin off, and place the plantain on a wood cutting board. (The plantain may be slippery!)

Lay the plantain down (like a rainbow) and thinly slice at an angle.

On medium heat, heat some vegetable oil in large pan (teflon is great for this) – you don’t need the oil to cover the plaintain, but it should be enough to come halfway up the sides of the plantain slices.

Using a spatula, turn the slices over when the sides start to look dark brown. Sometimes its good to sneak a peek under them also!

Remove the slices from the oil when both sides are done, and drain on paper towel.

Wait for the plaintains to cool slightly before serving, since the sugar content in them can really burn your tongue. (trust me!)

Dessert:

Tres Leche Cake

Tres Leche de Coco

Tres Leche de Coco

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