There are 8 million Puerto Ricans in the US with about half living on the mainland and the other half on their home island. Since both men and woman in the islands cook, I would guess there are 4 million people who cook Puerto Rican Style food. What makes this interesting is I not sure any two cook everything the same way. While pretty much everybody uses the same ingredients, some are not seasonally available and and also, personal preference changes which ingredients go into the pot.
Finding a good recipe for something you were served in Puerto Rico is compounded by the fact that Cuba and the Dominican Republic have a different set of preferred ingredients for the same meal and many Latin American countries use the same name for entirely different meals. Even worse, some words can have different meanings for different meals.
According to Wikipedia which interprets the word “Escabeche” pretty much the way I know it to be:
“Escabeche is a typical Mediterranean cuisine which refers to both a dish of poached or fried fish (escabeche of chicken, rabbit or pork is common in Spain) that is marinated in an acidic mixture before serving, and to the marinade itself. The dish is common in Spanish, Salvadoran, Panamanian, Peruvian, Philippine, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine, and popular in Catalonia, Portugal and Provence. Influences of the dish appear as far as Asia-Pacific with adjustments to local food staples. It is usually served cold after marinating in a refrigerator overnight or longer. The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar but can also include citrus juice. Escabeche is a popular presentation of canned or potted preserved fish, such as tuna, bonito or sardines. In the New World, versions of the basic marinade are often used with other foods than fish and meats, for example green bananas and chicken gizzards (Puerto Rico), jalapeño peppers (Mexico), etc. The origin of the word escabeche is Persian, and was brought to Spain by the Arabs during the Moorish conquests. The word derives from al-sikbaj, the name of a popular meat dish that was cooked in a sweet and sour sauce, usually vinegar and honey or date molasses.”
The chicken in todays post was served pulled (shredded) and hot but that is not always the case. This is the appetizer version served with crackers, traditionally saltine type. If served for dinner, it could be a cut-up whole chicken made with carrots and other vegetables or refrigerated and sliced on a sandwich. Of course all of the meals carry the same name.
Pollo en Escabeche
1 Piece skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast 4-6 oz.
4T cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized sweet or regular onions (cut off ends, remove outer skin, then chunk)
1 T. minced garlic
1 oz rum or white wine
1 bay leaf
1 T. Lime Juice
1/8” piece Scotch Bonnet or Jalapeño Pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 T. Balsamic or Red Wine vinegar
- Add olive oil to a large coffeepot.
- Add onions, garlic, and rum and saute until onions are soft (1 hour).
- Add in chicken, lime juice, hot pepper, salt, bay leaves), cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 2 hours.
- Remove the chicken meat and shred the chicken.
- Stir in shredded chicken, add vinegar and continue to simmer until chicken is warm (30 minutes).
- Of course I served it with my favorite Stoned Wheat Crackers.
While refreshing my memory, I saw many good recipes and one that attracted my attention was from Goya which was with carrots and is served as a dinner. Of course I must give it a try for another slightly different dinner.