Roasted Chicken from a roadside vendor is one of the true delights of living in Puerto Rico. There is so much love put in these tender, juicy birds roasted on the spit. The local rub used is made with Sazon (available in spice isles of better supermarkets or Latin markets), a close relative of adobo. You literally can smell these delicious birds roasting from a block down the road and start salivating while pulling over to the truck. I couldn’t buy and roast a bird as cheaply as I can buy one of these roadside babies.
Remove the skin of the chicken if you must and top it with a quick Tuscan sauce and shaved Parmesan. Polenta triangles sauteed in butter and garlic provide the starch and sauteed aje dulces chiles (or bell peppers) with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar lend a bit of crunch. The polenta and Tuscan sauce may be prepared up to 2 days ahead. This is light fare for a week-night dinner you and your family will love.
- 1 cup polenta (cornmeal)
- 1-1/2 cups cold water
- 2-1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or 1 sprig fresh oregano and 1 small sprig rosemary chopped)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 or 2 Tbsp butter for frying
- Mix polenta with cold water to soften. This will prevent polenta from clumping.
- Bring chicken stock to a boil and whisk in softened polenta. Add salt and seasonings.
- Cook uncovered over medium heat until thick like porridge stirring from time to time.
- Remove from heat and pour onto a buttered sheet tin or platter. When cool, refrigerate until ready to fry.
- Cut polenta into diamonds or triangles.
- Saute garlic in butter over medium heat until fragrant, add polenta pieces and fry until crisp and golden on both sides about 5 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels.
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded, stemmed and diced 1/2-inch (or 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste diluted with 1/2 cup red wine or water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh basil (about 5 leaves) chiffonade
- 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
- 1 or 2 dashes Tabasco or a pinch of red pepper flakes
- shaved Parmesan cheese
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat with a pinch of salt until fragrant and wilted.
- Add tomatoes and diluted tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add seasonings and herbs. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve over roasted chicken with shaved Parmesan Cheese
- 12 aje dulces peppers (2 or 3 green and red sweet bell peppers or 4 Anaheim peppers sliced into strips)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced (optional)
- 1/2 small onion, cut into strips (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
- Wash and remove stems from peppers, slice in half.
- Saute peppers in olive oil over medium high heat until tender/crisp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve hot as a side dish or room temperature as a tapa. Also delicious on bruschettas.
Note: Aje Dulces Chiles are very small sweet peppers found in better supermarkets and Latin markets. They are shaped like patty-pan squash and have the flavor of cherry peppers without the heat.