Colombian Style Chicken with Coconut Sauce
As I continue on my quest to cook Colombian food that my husband will enjoy and my kids can grow up with, I am always happy to find something that fits most of my criteria for a weeknight meal (a little over the time that I typically prefer for a weeknight, and there’s a little more chopping than I usually like for a weeknight, but not much, one onion and one red pepper, and sometimes you can cheat and get these things pre-chopped.) For a normal person, this is totally weeknight friendly. For a crazy busy person, it’s a little busy, but if you have a few extra minutes, it’s perfect.
The normal recipe calls for this sauce to be thickened with a bit of flour. Because of our family’s gluten free restrictions, I couldn’t use the flour. The first time I made it, I thickened it with cornstarch. The second time I forgot, and actually, we preferred it the non thickened way, so that’s the way I’m writing this recipe. The thin sauce is just as delicious, and it soaks in to rice. It saves a step in the preparation as well. Another thing we discovered in the preparation of this recipe is that we prefer the flavor of the chicken when marinated overnight as opposed to just an hour or so.
A note about one of the ingredients: both the recipes I used to make this recipe call for a packet of Goya seasoning. In this particular dish it’s the one with azafran — saffron. The Goya seasonings are found all over Latin America, and no self respecting Colombian granny would be caught dead without her stash in the cupboard. That said, most Goya seasonings have MSG as a main ingredient. (yikes!) When I was really struggling with migraines, I would avoid MSG like the plague. Now that I have them mostly under control, (thanks to a strict no caffeine EVER policy) I don’t mind letting a little of the MSG slip through, and it does give it that flavor that my Colombian hubby is looking for. If you’d like to substitute the packet of Goya with Azafran, I’d suggest using quite a bit of salt, a little turmeric, a little saffron and some onion powder .
The finished dish as just enough “special” about it, that it is great to serve for company. A salad with a nice acidic dressing would be a great balance to the sweetness of this dish. Buen Provecho!
1 and 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half lengthwise to make thin cutlets
For the Marinade:
4 T Olive Oil
1 T Vinegar
1 t salt
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t pepper
For the Coconut Sauce
2 T water
1 large onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 packet Sazon Goya with Azafran (see note above)
1 can of coconut milk (13.5 ounces, light or regular. I use light)
1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large plastic bowl and add prepared chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight
2. After marinating, heat a large deep skillet with lid to medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in batches 2-3 minutes on each side until the chicken gets a nice brown color. Remove chicken and place on a plate.
3. Add chopped pepper and onion to the pan, along with the little bit of water (to pick up the tasty brown bits from the pan). Add Goya seasoning and stir until soft (about 5-7 minutes) add garlic and saute another minute.
4. Add coconut milk and stir in to the veggies. (Add 1 T of flour to the coconut milk if you’d like to try the thicker sauce).
5. Return chicken to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through
Serve with white rice to soak up the delicious sauce. Can be prepared ahead of time and reheated to serve.