Tuesday, August 2, 2016





Puerto Rican Pollo y Penne 

This is a favorite recipe, blending two parts of the Latin world, Spanish (via Puerto Rico) and Italian, the best of both worlds in one magnificent, flavorful dish. These so-called "fusion" dishes are among my favorites.  Let me stop introducing this dish and let's just get to it.  You will love it!  By-the-way, this recipe, while tweaked my way, is inspired by a recipe by Chef Daisy Martinez!

Ingredients:
4+ chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 chipotle chile in adobe; 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 rounded tablespoon + 1 tbspn smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1.5 teaspoons pasilla powder, Cayenne chile powder, or chile molido or your favorite chile powder
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
*A good splash of balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To start, add two tablespoons evoo to a large pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper and a mix of one tablespoon smoked paprika and half a teaspoon of chili powder.  When the oil in the pot begins to ripple, add the chicken thighs, skin side down first. Sear at least four minutes and check to see if the thigh will release and turn easily; you do not want to tear the skin, you want it to get crispy.  Turn the thighs when you can easily flip the thighs over. 



Sear the thighs at least four minutes per side, until they will release and turn easily. without tearing the skin. 

Remove the thighs to a baking pan with a rack and place in the oven at 250-degrees to keep the skin crisp.  

Next, remove half of the rendered fat and add the chopped onion. Add a little salt to help the onions sweat and add the garlic and stir  The aroma should be heavenly in your kitchen.  When the onions became just a little translucent, add the tomato products and incorporate well.  Add the spices at this point, stir, and allow the San Marzano tomatoes to cook through.  


As the tomatoes cook down, about ten minutes in, use a potato masher or immersion blender to break up the San Marzanos.  


Add torn fresh basil and bring the sauce to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and snuggle the chicken thighs into the sauce to finish cooking by braising.  Simmer the sauce for 40 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. 

After forty minutes, remove the chicken and let it rest.  Boil four quarts of water and liberally salt it when it comes to a roiling boil.  Add your favorite pasta -- I used Penne Rigate -- and boil till just al dente, or just before done.  Drain in a colander and plate to your liking, family style (traditional) or individually.  

I garnished with a little finely chopped basil and garnished with it.  I nestled a chicken thigh atop the chunky, chile smokey pasta sauce.  Delicioso!!!