Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pollo Arvejado, Papas Rellenas con Mozarella, y Ensalada Chilena

Here's a preview of a meal from our cookbook:

Pollo Arvejado, Papas Rellenas con Mozzarella, y Ensalada Chilena

[Chicken with Peas, Stuffed Potatoes with Mozzarella, and Chilean Salad]

Pollo Arvejado is a traditional home dish that Chilean families consume on a regular basis. In fact, this is a meal that Mark grew up eating; his Mama would prepare this staple for his family several times a month. Today, we have brought this meal into our home and it is a particular favorite of our daughter’s. It can be served with most any starch including rice, potatoes, or noodles. For a quick and easy variation (although, admittedly, this isn’t a very difficult or time-consuming recipe as is), you can use boneless chicken breasts and a bag of frozen peas and carrots. It makes an easy one-pot meal for a weeknight.

We almost always eat Pollo Arvejado as a stew with warm hunks of Pan Amasado – literally “bread made by hand” - and Ensalada Chilena, the quintessential Chilean salad. Papas Rellenas – or “stuffed potatoes” – are a special savory starch that, like bread, can be made a couple of days in advance. They can be stuffed with so many different fillings that they are quite versatile as side dishes and can even be eaten on their lonesome as a snack or appetizer. They are a Chilean to-go meal, sold often at roadsides and toll plazas. For variations, try your favorite melting cheese or pino – the savory filling of the Empanada del Horno.

Pollo Arvejado
Whole chicken                                    3-4 pounds
Vegetable Oil                                      2 tablespoons
Yellow onion, diced                           1 medium
Carrots, cut into half medallions        2 medium
Peas, shelled                                       2 cups
Garlic cloves, minced                         3 large
Ripe tomatoes, peeled                         2 small
Cumin                                                 ½ tablespoon
Paprika*                                               ¼ tablespoon
Celery salt                                           ¼ tablespoon
Chicken stock*                                   1 cup
White Wine*                                       1 cup
Cold Water                                         ½ cup
Cornstarch                                          ½ teaspoon
Fresh ground black pepper                 to taste
Salt                                                      to taste

Papas Rellenas
Golden potatoes, peeled and diced     3 large
Eggs, uncooked                                  2
Flour                                                   1 ½ cup
Salt                                                      1 teaspoon
Fresh mozzarella                                 8 ounces                        
Vegetable Oil                                      3-5 tablespoons

Ensalada Chilena
Tomato                                                2 large
Onion                                                  1 medium
Olive Oil                                             1 tablespoon
Salt                                                      1 teaspoon
Oregano                                              1 teaspoon

*Substitutions: Instead of paprika, use cayenne pepper for a kick. Chicken stock and wine can be replaced with vegetable stock or water.

PREPARE: Gather all ingredients and equipment. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put a pot of water on to boil. Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil. Wash and cut all your vegetables first. Cut the chicken into pieces and remove skin. Choice pieces include the thighs, tenders, and breasts. (Save the bones for making Chicken Stock, p. XX). Dice the mozzarella.

POLLO: Season the chicken pieces with salt and pat dry. Using a large pan with a tall lip, sauté the chicken pieces in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until golden brown without crowding the pan. Roughly two minutes per side. Puree the two tomatoes while the chicken is browning. Press through a strainer to remove seeds. When all the chicken pieces are ready, remove and set aside. Sauté the onions in the same pan and oil until translucent. Add garlic, pureed tomatoes, cumin, paprika, and celery salt. Lower heat to medium and nestle the chicken pieces on top of the onion; add the biggest pieces first to allow the more heat for cooking. Add carrots, stock, and wine. Cover and continue to cook on medium heat for thirty minutes. Add peas. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and add, stirring slowly, until desired thickening of sauce is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste.

PAPAS: Put potatoes into the pot of boiling water until soft. Add potatoes and eggs to a mixer and beat until mashed. Add salt and flour and mix until potatoes are a thick doughy consistency. Take a large spoonful of the potatoes in your floured hands and press an indentation into the center. Place a couple cubes of mozzarella in the indentation and cover it with more potatoes. Form into the shape of a potato and sprinkle with flour. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a shallow pan on medium. Brown the Papas Rellenas briefly on each side without crowding the pan. Add more oil as needed. Once browned, place onto a greased or floured baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes or until the outside is crisp and the inside is steaming.

ENSALADA: Slice the onion into thin crescents. Toss with ½ teaspoon of salt and cover with boiled water. Let soak for five minutes; this softens the pungent flavor and aroma. Rinse under cold water and place in a serving bowl. Peel and slice tomatoes and add to the onion. Season with olive oil, the remaining salt, and oregano. Toss to coat.

(p. XX)
Consommé de Ave
[Chicken Stock]

Chicken stock is such an easy thing to make, we don’t know why everyone doesn’t make it. Plus, it feels good to use all of the parts and pieces you would normally toss – such as chicken bones and onion skins. When we make stock of any kind, we begin by saving the trimmed roots, stalks, leaves, peelings, and ends of vegetables about a week in advance. The recipe below asks for the key vegetable ingredients, but you can add other veggies as well – whatever you have on hand that week. Other veggies that work well and add deeper flavor include leeks, scallions, mushrooms, squash, asparagus, bell peppers, eggplant, parsnips, and herbs like parsley and cilantro. Avoid using vegetables that tend to overpower others (or use in small amounts) such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, artichokes, or beets. After making the stock, we freeze most of it but are always sure to leave a container or two in the fridge for quick and easy access. How much this recipe yields depends on how many ingredients you put into your stock, how long you let it reduce, and how much juice you squeeze out of the vegetables when straining.

Chicken bones                                                1 carcass
Yellow or white onion, chopped                    1 medium
Celery, chopped                                              4 stalks
Carrots, chopped                                             4 medium
Bay Leaves                                                     5-8 leaves
Peppercorns                                                    1 tablespoon
Water                                                              to fill pot within two inches of lip

PREPARE: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Roughly chop your vegetables. Retrieve the chicken bones you set aside from an earlier recipe.

CONSOMME: Put all ingredients into the water. Return to boil. Lower heat and simmer until stock reduces by a quarter. (This may take an hour or more). Let cool and then pour through strainer. Portion the stock into freezer-safe containers.

(c) Hillary and Mark Dodge 2016

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