Last Monday, I shared a favorite recipe that my family loves equally whether in Costa Rica and the U.S. It just works well in a hot climate or in cold weather.
This week I want to share something else that works well in both hot or cold weather – a great book! Whether lounging in a hammock or curled up in front of a fire, you can’t beat a cozy read.
And what better topic than Costa Rica? Especially when it’s for a good cause.
So for you fellow bookworms, I want to share that Jack Ewing (of Hacienda Barú and Monkeys are Made of Chocolate) has a great new book hitting the shelves soon – Where Tapirs and Jaguars Once Roamed: Ever-Evolving Costa Rica. Like Jack’s other projects, the proceeds will benefit Costa Rica, specifically the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor project.
You can pre-order the book here on Amazon, or learn more about Jack and contribute to their crowd-funding page here.
Brides & Grooms – Jack’s books are a great gift to get your guests excited for their upcoming travels for your wedding!
So we’ve finally exited the time warp that is the holidays. You know.. the holiday time warp that begins when you are sucked in sometime around Thanksgiving. Everything speeds up with parties, shopping, wrapping, visiting, eating, drinking.. you get spit out the first week of January, somersaulting your way through another week and landing with your feet on the ground mid -January.
January for us is quite busy, with a series of events in January, February and March. When I have a busy week ahead I like to rely on whipping up a family favorite on Sundays that will tide us over for Sunday and Monday dinner, and likely lunch on Tuesday. Eliminating cooking on Monday is always a good idea!
So today I’m going to share one of our Costa Rica favorites, Arroz con Pollo. This recipe comes from when I first moved to Costa Rica. My brother & sister-in-law’s housekeeper, Hortencia, taught me how to make this within a month or two of my arrival. Now, at that point I spoke no Spanish. And she spoke no English. So this recipe was jotted down as a mix of visual observation, charades, and plain old guesswork. But it’s the one I’ve always used.
The first time I made this without Hortencia I used like 6 pots but I promise you develop a system the second time you make it. Enjoy! 🙂
6 chicken breasts
couple cloves of Garlic
Bunch of Celery*
1 green or red pepper
½ bag green beans*
3 cups or so of rice (to 6 chicken breasts)
packet of Chicken consommé (you could probably just use chicken stock instead of water, and leave this out)
Achiote paste (small white round container w/ red writing, size 1” high 2” round, look in your international aisle)
Lizano salsa (brown sauce with white, red & green label, look in your international aisle)
* I usually add more veggies than recipe calls for.
Put chicken in a pot & fill pot with water to just above the chicken. Add a couple cloves of pressed garlic, some celery, some pepper slices, bit of salt & ½ packet chicken consume. Boil 20 minutes or so.
While chicken is cooking, dice: 1 pepper, garlic, 1 carrot, celery (use ends of celery stalks so lots of leaves), and green beans.
Preheat a pot to very hot and put a decent amount of oil in and only a handful or so of the veggie mix you just cut. Sauté and pour in rice (3 cups or so) keep stirring, add some salt.
Take chicken pot in Step 1, set the chicken aside, strain & discard the veggies, and pour the water only from the chicken pot into the rice pot. Add some extra water (little less than 1 cup). At this point the rice pot will have a soupy look to it. Cover & leave.
Tear up the chicken (easier to do if you tear it under running cold water, helps you avoid burning your fingers).
Dice 1 tomato
Rinse your chicken pot out and preheat again. Add oil and 1/3 stick of butter. Put in the rest of the veggie mix you cut up in Step 2 & stir. Then add tomato & stir, add the chicken & stir, add 1 large Tbsp of Achiote & stir, about ½ cup water or more, add some more consome (but don’t finish the packet, you don’t really need a whole packet for this recipe so you will likely have some leftover).
Check the rice. If it’s done, stir it up and add 1/3 cup water. Remove from heat.
Add some pepper & the salsa to the pan from Step 7. Cover & leave for 5-10 minutes to cook the carrots and green beans.
After you think the carrots & beans are cooked, add the rice mixture to the pan.
You can add corn from a can to the mixture at this point if you want. I like corn being added, my husband likes to skip that step, so it’s up to you.
Add some Lizano sauce on top before eating. This stuff is delicious. Dig in.