For this week’s What’s Cooking World? I am proud to introduce more Latin flavors. This time from Atlanta, Georgia Bren Herrera (are you sure we are not related?) fills our senses with a classic Cuban dish, pollo asado. This dish makes me wanna dance some Cuban salsa. Please make sure to visit Bren’s Culinary blog. Enjoy!
I’m sure you hear most cooks and chefs talk about how a certain food or dish was something they grew up eating as a child. How certain foods were staples–after all that’s what makes a culturedistinct, right?
Well I don’t have much a different genesis to share. Only mine is really special. Why? Because I (we–my siblings and I) ate darn good food everyday of the week! My mother never took a break from cooking and feeding us something delicious and filling. You might think of things like hot dogs, or the ultimate kitchen challenge: mac-n-cheese! Nope! Being Cuban and being a first generation immigrant, we practiced all those customary rituals my parents grew up with in Havana. This meant up at 6 to start cooking at 7 am. Black beans soak, herbs are pulled and cleaned from the garden and carne is seasoned.
So when it was time for dinner, we always had something to look forward to. It varied from day to day but rice was and is always the basis for our food. My mother never cut corners or shorted us. One of our typical dishes is pollo asado (roasted chicken) with yellow vegetable rice. It sounds easy but it does take some work. Shoot, it took me like5 attempts before I finally got it right and I’d dare say my mother would still criticize mine! I learned from her so I can’t be too off!
If I’m ever in the mood for something super savory and healthy, this is what I’ll make. Especially for my friends that love to eat. No one turns down good food, so next time you’re in the crunch and want to try a new chicken dish, try this–you’ll love it!
If you have any questions about this or any other Cuban dishes you’d like to try or learn about, send an email! I’ll be more than happy to help. And thanks to Ben for allowing me to share a bit of my food with you!
- 3 whole chicken breasts
- 1/2 large sliced red or Spanish onion
- 4 smashed garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup mojo criollo *
- 1tbsp oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 lemon wedge
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2.5 cups white rice
- 3 cups water
- 1 lb. frozen mixed vegetables
- * if you prefer fresh vegetables: 1 ear of corn for kernels, 1/4 cup peas, 8 oz. small carrots, 8 oz. small cut green beans
- 1 packet of Sazon seasoning with achiote (this yellows the rice)(see note below)
- 3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 2.5 tbsp salt
- 1/2 diced green pepper
- 2 diced green onion stems
- 1/2 diced large onion
- 1 whole tomato
- 4 minced garlic cloves