asopao with chicken and shrimp

This definitely falls into the category of one-pot-meals and am a total junkie for braised dishes and stews. Asopao is all the rage in Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico.

Paired with the vast array of seafood from the coastlines in Florida, especially the Gulf, this take it’s appropriately called Flo-ribbean Asopao, as the state has a vast injection of Creole, Caribbean and Latin culinary influences. Here, the mix of shrimp and chicken create unique and unparalleled flavors, resembling a Spanish paella of sorts.

4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs – fat trimmed and cut into bite size pieces

4-5 garlic cloves – thinly sliced

1 large onion – finely chopped

¼ cup of shredded coconut – unsweetened

5 slices of thick cut bacon – cut into 1” pieces

1 each – red bell and yellow bell peppers chopped

1 large tomato chopped

½ cup of white wine

1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk

4 cups of low sodium chicken broth

1 LB of raw shrimp shelled, deveined and tails left on

3 TBSP lime juice

1 bay leaf

1 TSP each of dried oregano and thyme

½ TSP chili flakes

2 cups of long grain rice

Mix the chicken cubes with the oregano, salt/pepper, garlic slivers, thyme and 1 TBSP lime juice and allow to stand about 1 hour at room temp.

Heat the oven to 350F and spread the shredded coconut on a cookie sheet and toast for about 1 minute – careful not to burn it.

In a large Dutch oven, add some olive oil and brown the chicken pieces in batches, transferring them to a plate. Add the bacon and cook until crispy and the fat has rendered. Add the onion, bell peppers, chili flakes and sauté for about 3-4 minutes till softened and onion is translucent. Add in the chopped tomato and cook a few more minutes. Add in the rice and the toasted coconut and emulsify with the other ingredients in the pan to coat the rice for about 1 minute stirring constantly. Incorporate the wine and deglaze until most of the wine has evaporated.  Nestle the chicken back into the to the pot, add the coconut milk, chicken broth and the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes till the rice is barely tender.

Add the shrimp, the 2 TBSP of lime juice and cook till the shrimp is cooked and the rice is tender.

Serve with lime wedges and some hot sauce at the table.

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