You can take the girl out of the country but you cant take the country out of the girl...
Just about once a month, I have to have my dosage of good homemade Cuban food. Although it's only been a week since I had the mandatory black beans for Christmas (and threw a bucketful of water out the back door for good luck on New Year's Eve), tonight was the night to go native with one of the quintessential of Cuban dishes. I got the inspiration at the last minute and since it really only takes a few staples that I always keep in my pantry, dinner was done in no time.
This fricassee is different from the ones you have probably had in the past. It is reminiscent of the bittersweet flavors found in the cooking of Andalucia and is typical of the Moorish influence in Spanish cuisine.
Now, some people add pimento stuffed olives and others add petit pois or small green peas. Although the olives are more traditional, I prefer the latter and it's the way it was always served in my house; but either one will be a good choice. Just don't add both. And don't skip the potatoes, it's what gives the wonderful consistency to the sauce!
This is a terrific and fairly quick comfort food style meal and most appropriate for a family Sunday lunch or dinner. If I'm serving it for guests, I sometimes add the slivered almonds (slightly toasted) at the last minute for a nice presentation. It's a great dish for a dinner or lunch party, Cuban or not.
If you are not Cuban you owe it to yourself to try this at least once in your life. You will be converted!
3 TB olive oil
1 TB butter
4 lbs chicken fryer cut in 8 pieces (or chicken thighs)
6 garlic cloves, mashed cut up
1/2 cup sour orange juice (or mix half-half lime and orange)*
1 lg onion chopped
1/2 lg bell pepper chopped
1 bay leaf
3/4 small can tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small can Petit Pois (English Peas)
OR1/4 cup sliced pimiento filled olives
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups of water
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
Slivered almonds (optional)
Marinade chicken pieces in garlic cloves, citrus juice, onion and bell pepper for at least one hour. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet and brown chicken (do not overbrown). Add garlic, onion, pepper and citrus juice from the marinade. Add wine and boil down for about a minute or two. Add tomato paste,salt & pepper. Add water to cover the chicken halfway. Add the potato pieces cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. If the sauce starts to get too thick just add some more water (half a cup at a time). Add the raisins and cook another 5 minutes. Add the can of small peas (or the olives) just before serving.
Wonderful over fluffy white rice.
*plain orange juice will do just as well