Dinner in Minutes

Sofrito and chicken and rice — so nice!

Sofrito enhances Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice.
Sofrito enhances Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice. TNS

This is a one-dish quick and easy dinner. Chicken and rice made with Puerto Rican sofrito is the secret to this dish. Sofrito is a seasoning sauce used in many Spanish, Caribbean and Latin American dishes. The base for the Puerto Rican sofrito is made with green bell peppers, culantro (saw-leaf coriander, a relative of cilantro) and ajies dulces (sweet cooking peppers). It’s an herbal sauce that adds fragrance and flavor to many dishes.

Fresh cilantro and cubanelle peppers or other mildly hot peppers can be used in place of culantro and ajies dulces. Cubanelle peppers are elongated and light green in color. They’re similar to Anaheim peppers and are mildly hot.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice: A flavorful combination. I’d try a soft, red shiraz from Australia.

Helpful Hints

▪ The sofrito recipe below makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.

▪ White wine or chicken broth can be substituted for the beer.

Countdown

▪ Make the sofrito.

▪ Brown chicken.

▪ Complete the dish.

Shopping List

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight’s Quick Fix Dinner.

To buy: 2, 8-ounce chicken breasts with bone, 1 package white long-grain rice, 1 bottle beer, 1 package frozen peas, 1 container sliced sweet pimentos, 1 cubanelle pepper, 1 tomato, 1 bunch cilantro and 1 cubanelle pepper or other mildly hot pepper,

Staples: olive oil, garlic, onion, salt and black peppercorns.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer.

Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1/2 cup green bell pepper cut into large cubes

4 medium garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup peeled and quartered onion

1/2 cup tomato quarters

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

1/2 cup seeded cubanelle pepper cut into large cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 8-ounce chicken breasts with bone, skin removed

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup beer

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup sliced sweet pimentos

Make the sofrito. Place green bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomato, 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and cubanelle pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and saute 1 minute. Add the water, beer and sofrito. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium and cook 15 minutes. Do not let the liquid come to a boil. Add the peas and pimentos. Cook 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro on top and serve.

Per serving: 523 calories (19 percent from fat), 11.3 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 6 g monounsaturated), 95 mg cholesterol, 37.8 g protein, 63.5 g carbohydrates, 8.2 g fiber, 95 mg sodium.

Yield: 2 servings

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