Friday, December 4, 2009
Arroz Con Pollo
One of my favorite parts of our Florida Thanksgiving Vacation was exploring Little Havana. I love Cuban food. I was first introduced to it when I was in grad school in NYC, which also has a huge Cuban population. And to be honest, Cuban food got this poor starving college kid through school. Every weekend, I'd walk down the street to the cuban cafe, and ordered yellow rice, black beans, and chorizo with a cup of cafe con leche, which is probably just as yummy and strong as the Vietnamese Cafe Sua Da, for about 3 bucks for everything.
So, when we arrived in Miami I wanted to see the difference between NYC Cuban cuisine and Miamian Cuban cuisine. After exploring every tiny cuban neighborhood in Miami, my conclusion is that NYC got it pretty darn close. In the process, I also made Raquel a huge fan of cuban food. So, I decided to try my hand in making one of the dishes since we're seriously lacking in authentic cuban food in the bay area.
Now, I've made Arroz Con Pollo (Rice and Chicken) before, but it never tasted quite right. So, I scoured the net for a new recipe, and found this one. It's from La Fonda Boricua, so it's obviously not Cuban, it's Puerto Rican, but I was game to try it anyway. Holy moley, we loved it! I think the key was to add beer! Ah beer....what a great ingredient. It added a very distinct tang and kept the rice moist.
I also added my own enhancements to the sofrito by adding a serrano chile. And, I ended up giving my adobo spice blend a kick with ancho chile powder. Finally, I added some fresh trimmed green beans in at the last minute for that added crunch and freshness. Raquel thought it was missing something, which it was, because I didn't have any annatto oil or achiote powder, since that's a local cuban ingredient. But, it was still close. Although, it did make me proud that Raquel has developed such a discerning palette since she's met me. She's come a long way from purely eating pho and power bars.
Mmm.. now if I could only get my hands on some cuban espresso.