Drink Magazine

Arroz Con Pollo + Sofrito

By Lucasryden @saborkitchen

Food has always had an important role in our daily lives – without it we’d surely die.  But this role has changed throughout history, and continues to change with advances in science and shifts in human consciousness (see: global warming and industrial beef).  At one point it was okay to eat your cousin Dirk.  Now it’s called cannibalism and everyone agrees that it’s pretty messed up.  Unless, of course, you’re one of these guys.

Another interesting example is the role of comfort food.  For thousands of years, certain foods were believed to have both physical and mental healing properties.  When you had a stomach ache, you ate this.  Can’t sleep?  Drink some of that.  It was always simple and always undisputed.  Grandmother wisdom at its finest.

arroz con pollo + sofrito

Now we have doctors to tell us what to eat and drink.  Their wisdom supersedes grandma’s, because they sat in a classroom for 500 hours so they could diagnose her with Tourette’s and Alzheimer’s and a million other diseases named after their not-so-humble colleagues.  Thanks for your patience, Mrs. Roberts.  It appears young Nicolas has an acute form of Attention Deficit Disorder.  Give him two of these blue pills twice a day, and he’ll be acting normal in no time.

Normal?  Or numb.  What’s the difference, anyway?

Maybe if poor Nicolas was given more sunshine and less Playstation (or more fruit and less high-fructose corn syrup) he wouldn’t be bouncing off the walls in the first place.  But in a society where prescription drugs reign supreme, the healing properties of food have become increasingly marginalized.  Some would say forgotten.  So we pump two little pills into Nicolas’ bloodstream, then watch his shiny blue eyes glaze over and his temples relax.  Such a sweet little boy.

arroz con pollo + sofrito

Today’s recipe is for Nicolas and the millions of other children just like him.  Born into a decrepit society nourished by television and the snack food industry.  Cured by prescription-grade amphetamines.  A society in which true comfort food no longer exists, and is too often mislabeled as boxed macaroni with powdered milk cheese.

Nicolas’ mother points at the television screen, telling him to feel sorry for the pot-bellied children in western Africa and mainland Mexico.  But I feel worse for Nicolas.  If only he had a steaming bowl of arroz con pollo and a family to share it with.  Instead, he eats Taco Bell in front of the television and forgets to call his grandmother at the retirement home.  So it goes.

1 pound chicken breasts
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Mexican oregano
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
3 jalapeños, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups brown rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup Spanish olives, chopped
cilantro oil
lemon slices

Directions:  Combine the spices in small bowl.  This is called adobo seasoning.  Rub it all over the chicken, then cook in a large pot with olive oil for 3 minutes on each side, until done.  Remove from pan and add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic.  This is called sofrito.  Cook the sofrito until tender, 3-5 minutes.  Add rice and chicken broth, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 20-30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.  Add peas and cook for another 5 minutes.  Stir in olives at the very end.  Serve with slices of chicken, cilantro oil, and a squeeze of lemon.

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