Of all the ethnic foods I have eaten, Cuban is by far my favorite. There is something so appealing about the fusion of Spanish and Caribbean cooking. I love the taste, the smells and the textures of it. Today I was looking through the freezer to find what we would be eating tonight. I pulled out some chicken breasts and noticed a medium size bag of frozen sweet pepper strips. I usually flip through my bookmarks to see if I have saved something the might work with whatever ingredients I have on hand. I didn't have to go far to find this recipe for Cuban Chicken Stew. I figured since I knew I loved traditional Cuban flavors I might as well try it. As usual I veered off the recipe a little, so I am writing what I did rather than what the actual recipe called for.
Cuban Chicken Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion julienned
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup green pepper slices (I used frozen)
1/2 cup red pepper slices ( I used frozen)
5 chicken breast halves, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 small bay leaves
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 can whole ripe olives, drained and sliced
1/2 cup raisins, minced finely
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 red potatoes in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup frozen peas
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. ( I prefer enameled cast iron.) Add the onions and saute till wilted but not browned, add the garlic and peppers and cook until the peppers are just wilted. Remove from the pan and add the chicken. Cook until it just begins to color then cover with the oregano, cumin and bay leaves. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the spices and return the vegetables to the pot. Add the olives and the raisins. Stir to blend. Add 1 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Cook on medium low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until almost cooked through then add the peas. By the time the potatoes have finished cooking the peas will be ready. Serve in a shallow bowl.
Oh my goodness, this was incredibly delicious. We gobbled it down! I can't think of anything I would do differently to this. Although it is stew, it is not one that should be eaten as just a winter dish. The flavors were intense but not heavy. I used fewer potatoes than the recipe called for, and next time I might leave them out entirely and use jasmine rice instead. It would alter the consistency a little but I think it would still be good. When summer hits and tomatoes are at their peak I will probably make this using fresh Roma tomatoes rather than tomato sauce. I can't wait. This is going to go in my monthly rotation because everyone loved eating it.
p.s. The leftovers the next day were even more delicious!