Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peruvian Roast Chicken with Garlic & Lime
Peruvian Roast Chicken with Garlic & Lime

  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus ¼ cup lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon minced habanero chile
  • 1 (31/2 to 4 pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded

  1. Process all ingredients except chicken in blender until smooth paste forms, 10 to 20 seconds. Use your fingers to gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs; place half of paste under skin, directly on meat of breast and thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute paste over meat. Spread entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining paste. Tuck wings behind back. Place chicken in 1 gallon zipper-lock bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place vertical roaster on rimmed baking sheet. Slide chicken onto vertical roaster so drumsticks reach down to bottom of roaster, chicken stands upright, and breast is perpendicular to bottom of pan. Roast chicken until skin just begins to turn golden and breast registers 140 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes. Carefully remove chicken and pan from oven and increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. (The "NOTES" section below explains how to cook chicken without a roaster.)
  3. Once oven has come to temperature, place 1 cup water in bottom of baking sheet and continue to roast until entire chicken skin is browned and crisp, breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through roasting. Check chicken halfway through roasting; if top is becoming too dark, place 7-inch square piece of aluminum foil over neck and wingtips of chicken and continue to roast. (If pan begins to smoke and sizzle, add additional water to pan.)
  4. Carefully remove chicken from oven and let rest, still on vertical roaster, for 20 minutes. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, carefully lift chicken off vertical roaster and onto carving board. Carve chicken and serve passing Spicy Mayonnaise separately.

    1. Notes: I only had two hours to give for the marinating process, and the chicken still tasted flavorful. The chicken selected for roasting weighed slightly more than this recipe calls for at 5.25pounds. Also, I did not use the oven. I used a gas Weber grill (goodness knows how I love my grill...but that is a discussion for another blog:) ) I heated the grill to a little above temperature (since heat is dissipated once opened). I set the temperatures to maintain right about 350degrees F. I don't have a rotisserie, so as the cookbook recommended, I placed the chicken onto a 12 oz. beer can. (Basically Beer Chicken: where one empties half the can of beer out of can, and then slide the chicken onto the can. The drumsticks will be pointing down). A smaller aluminum buffet tray was used to cook the chicken; too large of pan can cause much of the drippings to evaporate. Cook the chicken to indicated temperatures as listed in the “method of preparation” section, using a digital thermometer to test chicken.

      In all, I had wonderful results! It was flavorful with a very crispy skin and juicy meat. I wish I could post a picture of the completed dish and there was a scratch and sniff on your monitor! That is my very own picture (at the top of this post). It tastes as good as it looks! 

      Buen Provecho,

      Credits: Cook's Illustrated Cookbook Page 341

Monday, February 20, 2012

Romancing Our Loved Ones

Valentine's Day Picnic

Valentine's Day... and I wanted to create something special for the loved ones in my life. I had hoped to surprise my husband with an afternoon, outdoor picnic with panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. But my busy work schedule made me unavailable. By evening temperatures were too brisk. As a result, I got my creative cap on thought to myself, how can I keep the spice in our romance? I got very excited when I thought, I can move the picnic indoors!

Romancing our loved ones doesn't have to be all that complicated, nor does it need to break the bank.  Ambiance can be created by the use of props you probably already have at home. Plus, the picnic spread can be a combination of one or two simple recipes plus beautifully plated, store bought additions that beckon the appetite through the eyes. For my picnic, I used a woven mat to act as our blanket. It set the scene for our romantic picnic. Next a plethora  of throw pillows, in all shapes and sizes, were placed along the back perimeter of my "blanket." Then, ambience was given to the room by the glow of candles and battery powered votives set all around the space. I also lit a log in the fireplace for an extra glow and warmth. Now the room had a warm, inviting glow. Lastly, I appealed to our sense of hearing with serenades of spanish guitar; complements of Pandora. 

As for the menu, I wanted to keep it a light affair. I chose to make a delectable raspberry meringue dessert with swirls of white chocolate and a red curry pumpkin soup. Each of these recipes will be featured in upcoming blogs. The rest of the picnic required little effort; purchasing ready to be plated cheeses, deli cuts and fruit. Attention was placed in how the items were plated to make them most appealing.

Platters of fruit, deli cuts, and cheeses with sourdough bread

If you don't have time to even whip up two recipes, check out your local deli for additional tantalizing bites and dessert. 

My seven year old got a real thrill with the indoor picnic. The novelty of the indoor picnic made him very enthusiastic to nibble on all the treats, and I'm sure it's a memory he will carry forever. My son and husband felt loved and nurtured by the special feast that laid before them. And we all really enjoyed the cozy warm fire, candlelight, and each-others company. For myself, it is a blessing to just share a special moment together.

I love to prepare great tasting food for others, and I also know in our full and rushed days, it's not always possible to make our meals from scratch. However, we nourish our souls by how we interact with our food and to me, this includes the setting in which it is served and the loved ones we invite into our circle to share it with. 

Take some time to set a date on your calendar for an indoor picnic with a loved one in your life, and let me know how it went! Keep the romance alive!

Buen Provecho,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sopa de Pollo (Chicken Soup)

This morning, my 17 year old daughter woke up sick. No matter how old my children are, they love mom's homemade chicken soup to restore their spirits. This soup is made with wholesome goodness and the flavors one doesn't get out of a, a lot of love from mom. Let this soup inspire your senses on a brisk day.

This recipe calls for a whole chicken to poach. However, only a breast and leg with thigh are shredded for the soup. Feel free to shred more for your soup or reserve the remainder for another use. I like to get as many meals as I can with one effort, so the remainder of the chicken is reserved for chicken enchiladas.

Sopa de Pollo (Chicken Soup)
Sopa de Pollo / Chicken Soup
  • 3 Qts of waters
  • 2 medium sweet onions, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 bell pepper, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 7 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp Chicken Organic Better Than Bouillon (or check your bouillon's directions to make 3 Qts.)
  • 4 Tbsp Spanish or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (Roasted Garlic flavor, if available)
  • 3 carrots, medium with green leafy tops, if possible. Cleaned and chopped into thin slices. Reserve about 1/3 cup loosely packed leafy green tops, chopped.
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 tsp Bijol (optional)
  • 1 whole chicken, (remove neck and giblets from cavity, wash, and pat dry with paper towels
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 Fideo package (or thin pasta strands)


1.   Take a large pot and fill with 3 Qts of water. 
2.   Place onions, red bell peppers, and garlic into blender. Add a small amount of water to bottom of blender and puree. (You may need to work in batches if your blender is not very powerful.) Add the puree into the pot.
3.   Add Organic Better Than Bouillon into pot.
4.   Add Olive Oil 
5.   Add juice of one lemon.
6.   Add juice of one lime
7.   Add tomato sauce
8.   Add cut carrots
9.   Add bay leaf
10. Add Bijol (optional)
11. Add chicken
12. Add reserved green leafy tops of carrots, chopped, but save a little for garnish
13. Add pepper, about 1/4 tsp or to taste

At this point, it should appear somewhat like
Chicken soup while cooking

14. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to medium or simmering temperature. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Lift the cover and stir occasionally. The chicken meat, when pulled from bone, should not be pink.

15. Once chicken is cooked through, reduce heat to low. Remove chicken onto platter and allow it to cool enough for handling, but not completely cold. The chicken will shred more easily while warm. Remove one chicken breast and 1 leg with thigh. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Take two forks and pull the chicken meat off the bone and shred. Or, you can use your hands to shred. (Reserve the remainder chicken meat for another use, such as enchiladas.)
Shredding Chicken
16. Return only the shredded chicken meat to the pot
17. Take about 1/4 of the Fideo package (my package was about 6 oz. and I only used about 1/4 of package) and break the coiled strands into smaller pieces. Add to the soup.
18. Raise heat to medium and cook Fideo until al dente, another 10 to 15 minutes.
19. Remove Bay Leaf and salt soup to taste. I add about 2 tsp.
19. If not serving immediately, and you wish to remove excess fat, place pot into fridge and allow it to cool. Once cool, skim extra fat from top of soup. Reheat soup and serve. Garnish soup with a few pieces of the green leafy tops from carrots.

Serving suggestions: This can be served with Cuban bread or warm corn tortillas & lime wedge. It can be made in advance and/or  frozened for future use.

¡Buen Provecho!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken in Lemon & Garlic
  • 4 large, skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 5 Tbsp Spanish Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Grated rind of 1 Lemon, Finely pared rind of 1 Lemon and juice from both lemons
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon wedges and crusty bread to serve

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken breast widthwise in thin slices. Heat the Olive Oil in a large, heavy bottom skillet, add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds until aromatic.
  2. Add the sliced chicken to the skillet and cook gently for about 10 minutes or so. Stir from time to time until all the ingredients are lightly browned and chicken is tender.
  3. Add the grated lemond rind and the lemon juice and let it bubble. At the same time, deglaze the skillet by scraping and stirring all the bits on the bottom of the skillet into the juices with a wooden spoon. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt & pepper.
  4. Transfer the chicken in lemon and garlic, piping hot, to a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with the pared lemon rind, garnish with the parsley, and serve with lemon wedges fro squeezing over the chicken, accompanied by chunks of slices of crusty bread for mopping up the lemon and garlic juices.
I have, on previous occasions,  served this sabrosito dish over a bed of rice and Quinoa. It pairs up nicely with a glass of dry white whine such as Rioja. If you're pressed for time, make the dish earlier. Just omit the parsely until after the dish is reaheated.

Credits: this recipe comes from a book I love entitled "Spanish." It has a collection of beautiful Spanish recipes.

Welcome to Chef Sabor! I own a personal chef service named: ¡Sabor! So what is Sabor? Sabor is the Spanish word for taste or flavor. Although I can create many different dishes, I specialize in Cuban cuisine and more and more I am developing an affinity for Tapas. My intention is to share some favorite sabrosito (tasty) recipes as well as my personal chef experiences as I embark onto my new adventure!