Heat dinner up fast with Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice

This is a one-dish quick and easy dinner. Chicken and rice made with Puerto Rican sofrito is the secret to this dish. Sofrito is a seasoning sauce used in many Spanish, Caribbean and Latin American dishes. The base for the Puerto Rican sofrito is made with green bell peppers, culantro (saw-leaf coriander, a relative of cilantro) and ajies dulces (sweet cooking peppers.) It’s an herbal sauce that adds fragrance and flavor to many dishes.

Fresh cilantro and cubanelle peppers or other mildly hot peppers can be used in place of culantro and ajies dulces. Cubanelle peppers are elongated and light green in color. They’re similar to Anaheim peppers and are mildly hot.

Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice

1/2 cup green bell pepper cut into large cubes

4 medium garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup peeled and quartered onion

1/2 cup tomato quarters

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

1/2 cup seeded cubanelle pepper cut into large cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 8-ounce chicken breasts with bone, skin removed

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup beer

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup sliced sweet pimentos

Make the sofrito. Place green bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomato, 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and cubanelle pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and saute 1 minute. Add the water, beer and sofrito. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium and cook 15 minutes. Do not let the liquid come to a boil. Add the peas and pimentos. Cook 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro on top and serve. Serves: 2

Per serving: 523 calories (19 percent from fat), 11.3 grams fat (1.9 grams saturated, 6 grams monounsaturated), 95 milligrams cholesterol, 37.8 grams protein, 63.5 grams carbohydrates, 8.2 grams fiber, 95 milligrams sodium.

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