I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, but what I’ve learned about the Caribbean island country over time has made me interested in visiting it one day. For starters, I’ve heard Puerto Rico is home to impressive art museums, as well as noteworthy historical- and cultural sites. And, visiting these types of places when I’m traveling–whether I’m exploring a city in the United States or abroad–is one of my favorite vacation activities.
Second, I found out that Puerto Rico’s national drink is the pina colada and that bartenders on the tropical island can make them the traditional way (with rum), as well as the way I like them (without alcohol). This might not seem like a big deal, but I am disappointed every time I go to a restaurant here in the United States and learn that I can’t order a virgin pina colada because the restaurant’s bar either makes drinks with pre-made mixes containing alcohol or doesn’t have a blender. So, I’m sure I’d try to drink my favorite beverage every single day while in Puerto Rico.
I’ve also learned through doing research, as well as from knowing several individuals from Puerto Rico, that the country is known for its comforting cuisine, which has African-, Latin American- and European influences. The idea of tasting authentic Puerto Rican dishes in the very place where they emerged is exciting! Our family’s list of foods we would try include such dishes as arroz con mariscos (shellfish and rice soup); carne guisada (a beef and vegetable stew); tostones (twice-fried plantain slices); and pasteles (which look like tamales). I actually make lists like this whenever my husband, daughters and I travel. For example, when planning our family’s trip to Greece, I made a list of savory foods and sweet treats I wanted to try and I ended up being able to find and enjoy quite a few of them!
While I am intrigued by the above-mentioned dishes, I must admit that the one I’m most excited about trying is asopao de pollo, a hearty chicken stew with rice and olives that I recently made for my family. I don’t know what a cook who specializes in Puerto Rican cuisine would think of my take on the dish, but my family and I really enjoyed it…and it was very easy to make! Keep reading to see what I used to make my Quick Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo dish and check out the cooking directions. If you have a Pinterest account, go ahead and save the recipe using the below pin. You may also print out a PDF of the recipe using the above oval button. And don’t forget: You can have easy access to all of my cultural foods recipes by simply following my Quick Cultural Foods Recipes board on Pinterest.
For your convenience, my Quick Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo recipe includes a few links that will enable you to order some of the ingredients I used online and have them delivered to your home. If you place an order using my links, I will earn a small commission–at no additional cost to you–from qualifying purchases that will help me to continue to share recipes like this on my blog.
What You’ll Need To Make Quick Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo (Six servings)
*4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
*2 Cups of Chicken, cut up (I used 1.5 bags of the organic chicken chunks shown in my photos to save time.)
*1 Cup of Mirepoix
*2 Cups of Water
*4 Cups of Cooked Rice (I used a bag of frozen rice to minimize the cooking time of the dish.)
*1 Cup of Chopped Tomatoes
*6 Ounces of Tomato Paste
*1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
*1 Teaspoon of Turmeric
*1 Teaspoon of Oregano
*1/2 Teaspoon of Cumin
*1 1/2 Teaspoons of Coriander
*6 Tablespoons of Butter, divided
*1 Teaspoon of Salt
*1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
*1 Cup of Stuffed Green Olives (Remember to slice the olives before adding them to the dish.)
*3 Avocados, sliced into long wedges (cut lengthwise)
How to Make Quick Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo
1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a deep pan then carefully add the chicken. Cook chicken for 7 minutes, remembering to stir it a few times while it’s cooking to make sure it gets lightly browned on all sides.
2. After cooking the chicken for about 7 minutes, add the mirepoix to the pan and stir these ingredients together.
3. Turn the pan to high heat and pour the water into it. Then, add the rice, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings, and butter to the pan. Stir all of the ingredients multiple times to make sure everything is mixed together well.
4. Next, fold the sliced olives into the dish. Stir all of the ingredients again and bring the stew to a boil. Cover the pan and allow the dish to cook for about 15 minutes.
5. You’ll know it’s ready to be served when much of the liquid has been absorbed. When the dish is ready, spoon approximately a cup or so into each serving bowl, add 1 or 2 wedges of avocado to each bowl, and enjoy!
Possible Substitutions and Notes:
1. If you don’t like white rice, you could use brown rice.
2. I used a few cups of water when making my dish. However, you could use vegetable broth or chicken broth when making yours.
3. Many versions of this recipe that I’ve come across use chicken thighs. But, I didn’t want to use them because that would’ve added to my overall cooking time; I’m also not a huge fan of thigh meat. However, the next time I make the dish, I might buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into quarters ahead of time. The frozen chicken that I used had a nice flavor; I’m just interested in seeing how the dish will taste with fresh chicken.