Guisado de Pollo Cubano
(Cuban Chicken Stew)
Hot Fluffy Rice
Pears and Mandarin Oranges
Iced Tea, Lemonade or Fruit Drink
Guisado de Pollo Cubano or Cuban Chicken Stew
The tangy juice of sour oranges is one of the ingredients that gives Cuban Chicken Stew its signature flavor. This is not something that many of us make a part of our emergency pantry. I’ve used a combination of citrus flavors—including orange, lemon and lime—to replicate the flavor. True Lemon, True Lime and True Orange crystals are available in small packets in many supermarkets. I usually find them next to the artificial sweeteners, although sometimes they’re with the instant iced tea. You can also order them online. If you don’t have any of these convenient packets available to you then simply leave them out of the recipe and replace them with 3 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar.
This recipe makes enough for a hungry family of 4 or 6 moderate servings. It’s gluten free and dairy free. In this menu I explain how to cook regular white rice in the most fuel-efficient manner. If you prefer to use instant rice, then you’ll want 4-cups of instant rice and 4-cups of water.
- 2 (12-ounce) cans chicken
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce (no-salt added)
- 1 (15-ounce) can peas (no-salt added)
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced potatoes
- 1 (4-ounce) can green chile peppers
- 1 (15-ounce) can pears (packed in fruit juice)
- 1 (11 or 15-ounce) can mandarin oranges
- 24-ounces (3-cups) water for the rice
- 2 quarts or 2 liters water to drink with the meal
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons dry minced onions
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 packets True Orange, optional
- 1 packet True Lemon, optional
- 1 packet True Lime, optional
- 1-1/2 cups dry white rice or converted (parboiled) rice
- 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- Instant Iced Tea, Lemonade or Fruit Drink Mix, if desired
Gather the cans and water in a box or paper bag. Measure all of the ingredients for Bag 1 into a plastic zipper bag or a small jar or resealable plastic container. Seal and place in with the canned goods. Measure the rice into a separate bag or container. Seal and place in with the canned goods. Label the box (or bag) and make sure a copy of the recipe instructions is included.
First prepare the rice. Bring 3-cups, or 24-ounces, of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the rice from Bag 2. Return the rice to a boil, then place a good lid on the pot and cook it over the lowest flame for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and wrap the pot in a couple of towels or a blanket. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes to finish cooking.
Open all of the canned goods except the pears and mandarin oranges. Do not drain the chicken or green chile peppers. Do drain the peas, saving the canning liquid in case you need it later. Drain the potatoes, discarding the liquid. Rinse the potatoes in fresh water if possible. If not, don’t worry about it.
Pour the chicken, along with the canning liquid, into a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Add the tomato sauce, drained peas, drained potatoes and green chile peppers.
Add the contents of Bag 1. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil for flavor and texture. If you’re using bottled lemon juice add it now too. Bring the stew to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the stew to simmer for about 10 minutes. If the stew seems dry then add a little of the canning liquid from the peas until it reaches the consistency your prefer. Discard any leftover canning liquid.
Open up both cans of fruit. Drain the liquid from the fruit. Add it to the iced tea or fruit drink or water that you’re serving with the meal. Cut the pears into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Combine both pears and mandarin oranges in a serving bowl.
Prepare 2-quarts of your preferred beverage, adding the liquid from the canned fruit for extra flavor and nutrition.
Serve the stew over a pile of rice with pears and oranges on the side.
I keep True Lemon on hand in my Emergency Pantry and find it very useful as a replacement for bottled or fresh lemon juice. It’s all natural, convenient and stores well. I can find it at several of my local supermarkets. About a year ago I found boxes of True Lime and True Orange and have been looking for ways to use them up ever since. This recipe uses them to advantage. If you don’t keep True Orange and True Lime on hand, then simply leave them out and replace them with 3-tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 3 packets of True Lemon and then add a teaspoon of sugar. I once tried adding the juice from the canned mandarin oranges, thinking that it would make a good replacement for the sour orange juice called for in the original recipe. This was not a good choice. It was too sweet in my opinion, although you may feel differently. Feel free to experiment and give the dish your own touch.