Cuban Okra and Chicken Stew with Green Plantain Dumplings

cuban_okra_chicken_stew_plantain_dumplings(Quimbombó Guisado con Pollo y Bolas de Plátano)

Copyright @Maricel E. Presilla

Makes 4 servings
Hands-On Time: 40 minutes

Suggested Accompaniment

The Chicken
8 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
Juice of 2 large bitter Seville oranges (about 1/3 cup) or a 50-50
mixture of lime and sweet orange juice
8 chicken thighs, skin removed
2 pounds small okra
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

The Cooking Sauce (SOFRITO)
2 small Spanish chorizos, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium yellow onion (10 to 12 ounces), finely chopped
1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper or 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
4 medium fresh or canned plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), peeled,
seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)
1 cup beer
3 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned

The Plantain Dumplings
2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 3 sections
1 yellow (half-ripe) plantain, peeled and cut into 3 sections
4 large garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with mortar and pestle
1/4 cup chicken broth, homemade or canned
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt

Marinate the chicken: Crush the garlic, cumin, allspice, and salt to a paste with mortar and pestle. Mix in the orange juice. (You can also use a blender). Rub this marinade all over the chicken and refrigerate, covered, 3 to 4 hours.

Prepare the okra: Trim the okra and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 6 cups) and place in a bowl. I love the mucilaginous juice exuded by okra, but if it bothers you, do the following: Place the okra in a large bowl and run cold water over it while swishing around with your hands; drain. Return the okra to the bowl. Add 8 cups hot water and some citrus juice. Set aside.

Cook the chicken: Scrape the marinade from the chicken and reserve. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.
Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, sauté the chicken to gold a little, about 15 minutes: transfer to a plate.

Make the sofrito: Add the chorizo to the pot and cook until lightly browned. Add the remaining marinade and cook briefly, stirring, to get up the browned bits. Add the onion and hot pepper; sauté until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the optional tomato sauce and beer; cook 5 minutes more.

Finish the stew: Add the chicken and broth reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 35 minutes. Add the reserved okra to the pot (drain first if kept in acidulated water). Cook until tender, about 15 more minutes.

Make the dumplings: While the stew simmers, place the plantains with 8 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While still hot, mash plantains to a coarse puree with mortar and pestle or a potato masher. Mix in the mashed garlic, broth, olive oil and salt. Divide into 16 equal portions and roll with your hands into balls; set aside. Add the dumplings to the stew a few minutes before serving and let
them heat through. Serve in deep soup bowls over rice.


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