Asopao de Pollo

· 1-1/2 cup short-grained rice
· 3 garlic cloves, pressed
· 2 peppercorns
· 2 medium onions, peeled
· 2 sweet chili or banana peppers
· 4-6 culantro leaves or 6-8 sprigs of cilantro
· 2-1/2 teaspoon salt
· 3 tablespoons plus one teaspoon olive oil
· 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
· 1/2 teaspoon oregano
· 1/2 cup tomato sauce
· 8 cups water or chicken stock
· 1 cup of frozen sweet peas
· 1 4-ounce can of whole, roasted pimento peppers, sliced
· 1 can asparagus tips

Rub the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano and one teaspoon olive oil and set aside for 30 minutes. In the blender, purée the garlic, onions, peppercorns, chili peppers culantro and sweet peppers, with the remaining olive oil. In a large caldero sauté the sofrito purée for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Brown the chicken pieces to seal in their flavor. Add the tomato sauce and the chicken stock or water to the chicken and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the rice under cool running water until it runs clear. Drain the rice and stir into the soup pot. Raise the heat and bring to a boil once more. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the asopao is as liquid or dry as you prefer. Heat the sliced pimentos and the asparagus in their juices. Drain and use to garnish each plate of asopao. (Serves 6)

Serve with tostones….