At this point every month, we’re scrambling through our own mental map of the world trying to pinpoint our next place of interest. It was Chrystal’s turn this time to pick the culinary destination. Just when we settled on a cooking trip to the Middle East, Goya Foods contacted us about their 75th anniversary celebration. We figured it would be the perfect opportunity to take a detour to Latin America this time around, so we embarked on a trip to the one and only Guatemala.
If you’ve recently ventured down the Latin foods aisle at your local grocery store, chances are you’ve spotted a product distributed by Goya Foods. Whether its coconut milk, black or red beans, rice, tortillas spices, or fruit nectar, Goya offers a wide variety of items. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised to learn they produce, package and distribute over 1,500 food items spanning every region of Latin American and Spain. Combining inspirations from Hispanic culinary traditions and use of authentic Latin ingredients, Goya products are perfect for any cooking expedition, no matter what’s on the menu.
They first sent us a complete set of their The Best of La Cocina booklets, a special 75th Anniversary collection of recipes celebrating the flavors of Latin America and Spain, six in total. We now had in our hands many authentic Latin recipes from all over the globe. Peru, Columbia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua…we truly could have picked almost anything. One of my favorite past Ethnic Explorations was our take on El Salvadoran cuisine. We made pupusas, a savory corn cake filled with meat and cheese and topped with a simple slaw called curtido. As you can imagine, I was pretty happy when Chrystal shared she was most interested in recipes from the Central American booklet. Two recipes featuring coconut milk immediately stood out to both of us. They just so happened to originate in El Salvador’s neighbor, Guatemala. If the pupusas were any indication of the flavor of Central American food, we were both on board for this one. Vamanos! Goya sent us a fat box of ingredients to cook our chosen recipes, so all we had to do was follow the steps.
Apparently, this dish is a common staple in most Guatemalan kitchens. The Goya recipe booklet penned it as an “after lunchtime favorite most Guatemalans prepare at least once a week.” I guess it doesn’t get more authentic that! We also learned this dish, along with most meals in Guatemala, are typically eaten with tortillas. We love ourselves a tortilla, but we thought this would be a good opportunity to explore a familiar side dish of red beans and rice.
Among the many products Goya provided for this exploration was a five pound bag of Canilla extra long grain parboiled rice. At first glance, it looks like any other white rice out there. Parboiled rice, though, does have unique characteristics. The rice is initially boiled in its husk, retaining much of its natural nutrients and vitamins. Plus, parboiled rice has a shorter cooking time, and generally the cooked rice is firmer and less sticky due to the length of its grain. Why haven’t we been cooking with this sooner?
The recipes were pretty straight forward. There weren’t any unusual ingredients or wild cooking techniques required. The completed meal was very tasty. Not surprisingly, the coconut was certainly the prominent flavor of each bite. This was one of the most creamiest rice dishes we’ve eaten, not including a risotto. The dish was aromatic, mildly sweet and savory from the coconut, garlic, onions and peppers. It’s no wonder Guatemalan families often dine on this staple.
After 75 years in the food biz, Goya Foods has established itself as the chief provider of Latin foods and ingredients in the world. They are celebrating this huge birthday with a promotion on their on website. You could win a grand total of $75,000 by entering their mail-in sweepstakes, participating in their “Greatest Fan” video, photo, essay contest, or playing a number of their festive online games including the Match Your Birthday! game. With ten different ways to win the seventy-five thousand big ones, you may want to start playing. Plus, you get a special Goya Birthday Gift Pack just for playing one of the online games. It’s all here, just a click away.
If all of this wasn’t enough, we’re doing a giveaway too, courtesy of Goya of course. You could win a set of The Best of La Cocina recipe booklets for yourself. Here’s how you can win: Leave a comment to this post sharing your favorite Latin dish by Thursday August 4 at 12:00 am PST. The winner must live in the contiguous United States. We’ll randomly pick a winner and send a recipe passport to amazing, authentic Latin eating with Goya as your guide. Now join us as we shout from the roof tops, “Happy Birthday Goya!” Have fun and good luck!
Guatemalan Chicken in Coconut Milk – Serves 4 (Adapted from The Best of La Cocina Goya: Central America)
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons Goya Corn Oil
25.5 ounces Goya Coconut Milk
3 pounds chicken thighs and and legs
1/2 cup green bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo with Pepper, or to taste
1 packet Sazon Goya with Coriander and Annatto
1. In a large, flat pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Caramelize the chicken pieces, cooking each side for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a plate.
2. Meanwhile, in the same pan used to brown the chicken, add an additional tablespoon of oil if needed. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or just as they turn translucent in color, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk.
3. Just as the coconut mixture begins to reach a boil, add both types of peppers, cilantro, adobo and sazon, mixing well to evening distribute throughout the pan.
4. Gently place the browned chicken back into the pan, spooning the coconut mixture over the chicken pieces to even coat them. Lower heat low and let simmer with the pan loosely covered, stirring and basting often. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
5. Remove chicken from the pan and place on a separate plate. Let the sauce continue to reduce uncovered until slightly thickened, about 4-6 more minutes. Serve chicken in the sauce with Coconut Rice and Beans and tortillas if desired.
Guatemalan Rice and Beans with Coconut Milk – Serves 4 (Adapted from The Best of La Cocina Goya: Central America)
1 tablespoon Goya Corn Oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon Goya Minced Garlic or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Golden Canilla Parboiled Rice
1 1/2 cups water
13.5 ounces Goya Coconut Milk
1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 packet Sazon Goya without Annatto
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo with Pepper, or to taste
15.5 ounces Goya Central American Red Beans, drained and rinsed
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, red pepper, and garlic together for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Mix in rice and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes stirring constantly.
2. Stir in water, coconut milk, thyme, sazon and adobo and bring to a boil. Mix in beans and return pan to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking, about every 5 or 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and fluff rice mixture with a fork. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy with desired main course.
**As stated above, Goya provided us with products to complete these dishes.**
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
Goya Foods provided the ingredients and recipe booklets for our review. The opinions expressed here are our own.