Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Arroz con Pollo for St. Josemaria Escriva

Tomorrow's feast day, (June 26th), is for St. Josemaria Escriva, a Spanish priest. My background is proudly half German and half Hispanic, (approximately).  My mother, who gave me my Hispanic side, often cooks delicious dishes like enchiladas, tostadas, and refried beans. Arroz con pollo, also known as rice with chicken, was a weeknight staple and one of my favorites. This recipe comes from my Great-Grandmother Leonor Martinez who was Puerto Rican, but lived in Mexico at least when my grandpa was a little boy. I might have to ask about the details. So to me, arroz con pollo is a Mexican dish, but I did find a recipe for it in a Spanish cookbook. Of course there is a lot of intermingling of Spanish, Puerto Rican, and Mexican cuisine, especially in my family! So even though St. Josemaria Escriva is Spanish, not Puerto Rican or Mexican, I thought that sharing my family recipe for arroz con pollo would be appropriate.

 St. Josemaria Escriva founded Opus Dei, which means "Work of God." Opus Dei is an organization of laypeople and priests whose "mission is to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society." - Opusdei.org

While sitting down to this delicious Spanish/Puerto Rican dinner, it would be a great time for a family discussion on how we can use our everyday activities to become closer to God, serve others, and improve society. One thing that I did when the poor behavior of my kindergarten students was driving me crazy was to say a prayer for the student each time I had to bend down to tie their shoes. It was small and simple, but it brought me closer to God and helped me to be a more loving and patient teacher.
The mission of Opus Dei reminds me of another organization I wrote about recently, the Apostleship of Prayer. If you're looking for great resources for prayer and offering yourself to God each day for the whole family, the Apostleship of Prayer is a wonderful place to look.  It also reminds me of St. Therese of Lisieux and her "little way." St. Teresa of Avilia's quote at the top of my blog even talks about being able to find Jesus in the pots and pans of the kitchen. Sometimes it seems like the world is so big and full of problems that we couldn't possibly make a difference unless we are doing great works, but the Church shows us that we can become holy through little things and ordinary life, and a world filled with holy people makes a big difference! What a beautiful message!

To learn more about Opus Dei, click here.
To learn more about St. Josemaria Escriva, click here.

Arroz con Pollo

2-3 chicken thighs or breasts (thighs are better!)
2 cups of rice
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large can crushed tomoates
1 jar green salad olives, drained
salt and pepper

1. Start by cooking your chicken. Place the chicken in a crock pot and cover with water. Turn the heat to low and cook until the chicken starts to fall off the bone. We usually do this overnight. *Important - don't get rid of the chicken water!

2. Shred the chicken and place in a serving bowl with the olives. In a large pot  pour in one cup of the chicken water, and the can of crushed tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and bring the liquid to a boil.

3. While the liquid boils, toast the uncooked rice in a dry pan with the onion. You want the rice to have a nice golden brown color.

4. While the rice and onions are still hot, pour them into the boiling liquid. Wait for the liquid to come back to a boil, (this shouldn't take long), then turn the heat down to low and put a lid on the pot. Let this cook for 20 minutes.

5. After 20 minutes, take the pot off the stove and let it sit for another 10 minutes with the lid on. *Important - do not open the lid! No matter how much you want to look!

6. After the ten minutes have passed, you may now open the lid and put the cooked rice into the serving bowl with the chicken and olives. Mix it all up and serve with tortillas! To eat tear pieces off a tortilla and use to scoop up the arroz. I like mine with a little hot sauce!

 This post is linked up the Catholic Bloggers Network monthly link up blitz  and the Equipping Catholic Families Saints Cele-linky

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