- 2 ½ lbs. chicken thighs, skinless & boneless, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 5 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ lb. 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 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 cup peas, fresh or thawed frozen
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
- Finely chopped jalapeños and hot sauce, for serving
In Minnesota, we like to make a lot of what we call "hot dishes" and other casseroles. We have a proud tradition up here in my neck of the woods for stellar one-pan meals that include vegetables, meat-and-potatoes and, of course, the can of condensed mushroom soup. Since I am a one-pot-meal junkie, when I moved to the Twin Cities 20 years ago, I felt like a raindrop entering the river. 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. Inspired by a Christopher Idone recipe from decades ago, I started playing around with this classic island-style jambalaya, a stewy rice casserole that I love more the wetter it is. Sometimes I make this with an extra cup of stock just so it’s a little soupy! Dry jambalaya doesn’t thrill me.
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.
1. 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.
2. Spread the coconut on a small baking sheet and toast until golden, about 1 minute. Let cool.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.