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This delicious one-pot recipe comes from chef Millie Peartree, founder of "Full Heart Full Bellies," an initiative the former soul food restaurant owner started amid Covid to give back to her community.
"Full Heart Full Bellies" provides meals for kids in the South Bronx, which is one of the poorest communities in NYC. "It was very important to me to make sure that children had food because a lot of programs are canceled and/or limited due to Covid," she explains.
Millie creates restaurant-inspired meals for this program so she can bring the restaurant experience to people who can't afford to go to restaurants—especially Latin comfort food dishes like this one because the South Bronx is predominantly Hispanic.
Shortcut: Packets of Sazon seasoning are available in the Latin foods aisle of most grocery stores and one 1.4-ounce packet can be used in this recipe along with 1 teaspoon turmeric instead of making your own.
Pro Tip: Freeze or refrigerate the leftover Sofrito in an airtight container for another use.
For the Sofrito, blend all ingredients in a food processor.
For the Sazon, combine ingredients in a bowl.
For the chicken, in a large bowl, toss to combine the chicken, Sofrito, onion powder and garlic powder. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Just before cooking, remove chicken from the marinade and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate; the chicken will finish cooking with the rice.
For the rice, using the same Dutch oven with drippings reserved, add the onion and cubanelle peppers and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon Sazon and the rice, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the peas and saffron (if using), stirring to evenly distribute. Arrange the chicken on top. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes on the stove or in a preheated oven at 375˚F.
Fluff the rice with a fork, then serve immediately garnished with cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.