Cooking, Food, Recipe

Eat This While You Read That: Jason Cordova

Kaiju DawnI won’t even pretend to understand the whole Kaiju thing. Giant monsters from the deep with no basis in biology? Hey, it’s science fantasy, I can roll with that. The stories are entertaining and anyway, they are more about the big BOOMs and stompy feets, and the brave souls fighting off the terrors that have no name. If you’re going to read Kaiju stories, you have to look up Jason Cordova’s stories (mostly co-written with Eric Brown). I’d say start with Kaiju Dawn, and while you’re making this dish with the monster flavor profile, you can immerse yourself in a world that has no parallel.

Jason’s an Iberian, and proud of it, so he didn’t surprise me with his dish. I was delighted when he suggest Chorizo con Pollo, and made a note of the instructions his grandmother had passed on to him. It wasn’t a full recipe, but it really didn’t need to be – this dish is more about preparation and presentation, it’s not complicated at all. As a matter of fact, Jason pointed out that it could be made even more simply than I prepared it, and I’ve included those notes below the recipe.

Chorizo con Pollo
Chicken, sausage, cheese, and rice: ingredients that make magic together.

Chorizo con pollo y arroz

Ingredients

  • a package (about a pound) of chorizo sausage
  • Chicken - I used 1 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast, diced to 1" cubes
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Chopped onion
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • saffron flowers (or saffron) *see notes
  • garlic powder
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c salsa or pico de gallo
  • 1 tsp cumin

Instructions

  • In a skillet, brown the chorizo. When it is cooked into crumbles, scoop it out to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. Reserve about 2 tbsp of this and any bits of sausage remaining. Brown the chicken, turning occasionally, in the fat from the sausage. Once browned, cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure the chicken is done, and remove from heat.
  • In another skillet or heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Pour in the dry rice and fry, stirring gently, until it is just slightly browned. Add the onions and spices, fry for another 2-3 minutes and then pour in the broth, squeeze in the lemon juice, and salsa. Allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer WITHOUT stirring. Every five minutes or so, push the rice away from the side. When you no longer see broth liquid, remove from heat.
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    Jason’s grandmother always served the chorizo carefully spooned over the chicken. I added crumbled Queso Fresco on top of the heap, and it was all delicious. Monster flavor: the chicken is a mere vehicle for that lovely spicy chorizo. The rice has a personality of it’s own, savory, a hint of acid… it’s a beautiful thing.

    Spanish Rice
    Frying the rice. I really need to look up the chemistry of what’s happening here, but I already know it does make a difference.

    The First Reader is already planning when he’s going to ask me to make this again. I don’t mind – even on a school night, if I add Jason’s modifier of a packaged black beans and rice to serve under the chicken and sausage, this is simple to fix and packs a potent punch of deliciousness. And I could probably throw the rice in the rice cooker and have it all done in 20 minutes. Even with my schedule, that’s doable. It makes wonderful leftovers, too.

    Saffron Flowers
    If you want to add that lovely golden color to the rice without the expense of real saffron, you can use Saffron Flowers. No actual relationship to saffron, these are florets from the Marigold, Tagetes spp.
    Chorizo con pollo
    The layers all go together very well. You could mix it up in the pot, but this looks nicer.

    3 thoughts on “Eat This While You Read That: Jason Cordova

    1. I pick up my saffron flowers at Fry’s (Kroger’s in many places). Mine are Tampico brand, though, and all plastic pouches.

      (I happened to have some that I hadn’t transferred to the glass spice jars yet. Someday, I’ll get those etched and enameled properly – right now I wouldn’t post a picture with their masking tape labels…)

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