I first met Jessica while hiking in the Hudson Valley. Her girlfriend, also named Jessica, and I had recently reconnected after many years and our plans for an outdoor excursion had finally materialized. Overlook Mountain was our destination that warm summer day. It was an incredible amount of fun spending time with others who share a similar appreciation of being in nature. We have since gone on many more outdoor adventures and naturally, shared several meals together, many of which were home cooked.
Me: Where do you live currently? Where is your family from?
Jessica: My mom, dad, and [I] live in Wappinger Falls, NY. Until my mom did 23 and me last year, we thought her family was Puerto Rican. [We] found out [that] they are more Spanish and Portuguese with roots in Puerto Rico.
Me: Tell me more about this dish. When did you first have it? What do you like about it?
Jessica: [This] dish is called Pollo Guisado. [It] is basically a chicken stew. I love the Puerto Rican flavors and smells. It brings me right back to my great grandmother and great aunts apartment in Yonkers, NY.
Me: Tell me about your town. What makes it so special?
Jessica: My town is just enough out of the way of the hustle and bustle. You can hike some of the best mountains around or take a train ride to Manhattan.
Me: How are you managing with the coronavirus lockdown?
Jessica: Lockdown hasn’t been so bad. [We have] really kicked up the cooking and baking. [I am] happy to have my bestie/roommate Sara here and of course, [my girlfriend] Jessica.
Below are some photos of Jessica’s harvest from her vegetable garden in Wappinger Falls, NY.
Making Pollo Guisado really brought me back to our old neighborhood in East Harlem. Also known as “El Barrio”, East Harlem is historically a Puerto Rican neighborhood. My husband and I would frequently go to this restaurant called El Nuevo Carribeño where upon opening the door, delicious aromas and sights lay right before you on a series of trays containing a variety of Latin dishes.
I loved how this is a “one pot” kind of recipe but also maintains a distinctive flavor. I prepared it with some rice and beans on the side and it was absolutely delicious. If only I had some plantains! 😉
The recipe below has been adapted with some minor modifications from Delish D’Lites.
Prep – 15 minutes
Cooking – 1 hour
1.5 lbs chicken legs or thighs, with bones
2 medium sized potatoes, diced (~3/4 cup)
Petite baby carrots, 3/4cup
Sofrito, 4 Tablespoons (I used Goya)
Tomato Paste, 2 Tablespoons
Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons
Sazon with Achiote, 2 packets (Goya)
Chicken Bouillon, 1 Tablespoon
Adobo all purpose seasoning, 1 Teaspoon (Goya)
Dried Oregano, 1 Teaspoon
2 Bay Leaves
Water, 3 cups
- Season chicken with Adobo Seasoning on both sides.
- Heat Olive Oil in Pot on medium heat. Add chicken, brown both sides and then remove from pan, set aside.
- Add Sofrito, Sazon, Tomato Paste, Chicken Bouillon, Oregano, Water, Potatoes, Carrots, Bay Leaves into the pot. Bring to boil, then add the chicken back into the pot.
4. Lower the heat to low-medium, cover and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, until chicken, potatoes and carrots are cooked. Allow to cool and serve with rice.