If I think back to my childhood, the kitchen is where I remember spending the most time. Whether that meant helping my mom with weekly dinners or just watching her with excitement as she prepped all day to make special holiday dishes – the kitchen was always the place where we gathered as a family. Those moments will always be “recuerdos” for me – and in many ways as an immigrant, food was a gateway to my culture and heritage. Today we are speaking to three amazing women on their recuerdos from the kitchen. Get your pen and paper because these recipes are delicious! 🙂
Kathleen Pagan, Founder of homewares company, Endlessly Elated
Sopa De Pollo / Chicken Soup
There are some recipes that give you that feeling of nostalgia. They bring back fond, intimate memories. They offer a kind of comfort that makes you mindful of a time, a place, or a singular moment. Dishes that remind you of family, of home. This is mine. In the countryside of Puerto Rico where my family resides and the weather never subsides to less than what feels like 90 degrees F., my grandmother, always enthusiastic about cooking, can be found conjuring up her Sopa de Pollo, her chicken soup.
With sweat on her brow, fresh vegetables from her garden, and the aromas that eventually envelop the room, this moment harmonizes tradition, history, and culture. A moment where they all come together to tell a story. The story of my roots.
1 ½ pounds of skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ of a medium red pepper, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of cilantro, equally divided
1 handful of culantro (Different from cilantro. Considered its botanical cousin)
2 tbsp. of water
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. of organic adobo
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium corn husks, quartered
2 tbsp. of tomato sauce
32 oz. of chicken stock
3 small dry bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh oregano
5 small potatoes, diced
5 oz. of fideo noodles, halved (Angel Hair pasta works as well)
1 lime, juiced (optional for serving)
1 avocado (optional for serving)
Begin by adding onion, garlic, red pepper, cilantro (one handful only), culantro, and water into a food processor. Process until a smooth paste is formed. This is also known as sofrito. A purée used as a building base in most Puerto Rican dishes. Set aside.
Next, heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. While waiting for the oil to come to temperature pat chicken dry and season with adobo – a blend of different spices like paprika, salt, and garlic. Go ahead and add your chicken to the pot and sear until all sides are browned. Remove and set aside as well.
In the same pot add the sofrito, celery, carrots, corn, and tomato sauce. Stir for about two minutes scrapping all the bits left over from searing. Then go ahead, add back the chicken, chicken stock, bay leaves, and oregano sprigs. Bring to a boil and cover. Let simmer for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.
At the 45-minute mark, add in potatoes and remaining cilantro. Cover and continue simmering for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are tendered. Lastly, add in the pasta and cook until al dente – about another 15-10 minutes. Remove sprigs of oregano and cilantro. Serve immediately alongside lime and avocado.
Integrate this dish and make it part of – Your Story of Home.
Tessa Horovitz, Managing Partner of Maison H & Consultant
“La sole meunière & ses épinards à la crème” / The sole meunière & creamy spinach
1 organic lemon for 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest
4 tablespoons salted capers
50 g butter (ideally organic farmer butter) for cooking
100 g for butter hazelnut
a bit of white flour
salt and pepper
spinach as much as you want they reduce so much
crème fraîche or sour cream
3 tablespoons of salmon roe
Diana Heredia, Fabric Director at Carolina Herrera
RABO GUISADO / DOMINICAN OXTAIL STEW
Dominican oxtail has always been one of my favorite dishes growing up. It was usually a specialty meal, not something you come across often. Now as an adult my mom makes sure to invite me over every time she makes it. I started to make this dish on my own about 2 years ago and it took about 3 attempts to get it right. I can now make it with confidence and a little pride. I did remix my mom’s recipe a bit, she doesn’t use soy sauce but I enjoy the added flavor. I enjoy eating Dominican oxtail stew with rice and beans (moro de habichuelas rojas, another favorite), a salad and sometimes even with a banana! It’s a Dominican thing I suppose, but the sweetness is a good touch.
2 pounds of oxtail
½ green pepper
1 medium red onion
4 garlic cloves
1½ table spoons of dry oregano
1 packet of Sazòn Accent (green packaging)
1 cube of chicken bouillon
3 table spoons of soy sauce
1 table spoon of apple cider vinegar
2 table spoons of bitter orange
4 table spoons of canola oil
1 table spoon of sugar
5 Spanish Manzanilla olives
4 cups of water
5 stems of cilantro
1 tea spoon of tomato sauce
Cut away any excess fat from the oxtail.
Clean oxtail by soaking in water with vinegar for about 3 mins. Rinse thoroughly in cold water. I do this cleaning process twice.
Slice onions, garlic and green pepper.
In a mixing bowl add oxtail, oregano, chicken bouillon, Sazòn Accent, soy sauce, vinegar, bitter orange.
Add the onions, garlic and green pepper to the bowl.
Mix all the ingredients in the bowl and marinate for at least 3 hours in the fridge. I marinated this oxtail for about 24 hours.
In a pot heat 3 table spoons of canola oil over medium heat.
Add 2 tea spoons of sugar, make sure to spread it evenly in the oil. NOTE: Watch the sugar carefully, you don’t want the sugar to burn!
Once the sugar starts to brown, add the only the oxtail to the pot to give it some good color.
lace each piece of oxtail on the pot flat side down for about 3 minutes then stir a bit so the oxtail can be coated on both sides where possible.
Add the rest of the ingredients left in the bowl and stir.
Cook for approximately 5 mins.
Add 4 cups of water or until all oxtail are covered.
Add cilantro. I keep the full stems so it is easier to remove at the end.
Cover and reduce heat to medium/low.
Cook for 3 hours. If it starts to dry up and the meat is still not tender, add more water and let it continue to cook until the meat is nice and tender. NOTE: check up on the oxtail every now and then and stir lightly if needed. You don’t want the oxtail to fall off the bone so it’s best to be gentle.
Add tomato sauce when you start to see the oxtail showing through the liquid. I prefer to add the tomato sauce later in the process. I did it like this and liked the way the texture and taste turned out so I continue to do it this way.
Add the olives, it’s best to add towards the end so they don’t get too soft.
Remove cilantro (optional).
Cover again and cook for another hour or until the water is absorbed and you start to see the thickened stew texture.
Turn off the stove and let it sit uncovered for a about 10 minutes before serving.