Over the years, I have expanded my repertoire of killer soups, stews and braises for superb oven-to-table one-pot meals, and this is one of the better recipes. This asopao (stew) is Trinidad-inspired, but it fits neatly into the Flo-ribbean cooking genre. The southeastern zeitgeist is all about Creole and Amer-Indian style meeting Florida’s amazing multiple growing seasons and all of the Gulf’s impressive bounty from the sea, sky and land. This asopao is pure Trini magic. Don’t be shy about passing plenty of extra limes and hot chile sauce at the table.
Asopao with Chicken and Shrimp
- 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, toasted
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small Scotch bonnet chile—stemmed, halved and seeded
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
- Finely chopped jalapeños and hot sauce, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the garlic, oregano and thyme. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Spread the coconut on a small baking sheet and toast until golden, about 1 minute. Let cool.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, bell peppers and chile and cook until the onion is translucent and the peppers have softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and toasted coconut, then stir in the wine and cook until most of it has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the rice is barely tender, about 25 minutes.
Stir in the shrimp, peas and lime juice. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the shrimp are cooked through, about 6 minutes longer. Discard the chile and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing lime wedges, jalapeños and hot sauce at the table.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Stephanie Meyer.