Leticia Moreinos Schwartz has been a spokesperson for America's Diabetes Challenge for the past five years. Through the campaign, she travels across the nation doing recipe development, live events, cooking demos, satellite media tours, and more, all in the name of promoting healthy cooking!
She also sees first-hand the dietary problems that contribute to this and many other lifestyle diseases, particularly in the Hispanic community here in the U.S. and in Latin countries globally. Leticia grew up in Brazil, but quickly realized that once Latinos move to the U.S., their habits change for the worse, along with their health.
"We no longer shop at a farmers market or cook homemade meals. Instead, we shop at big chain stores and buy pre-packed foods. The road from a healthy Latin culture to the North American table became a tough one somewhere along the way," she said.
The good news is that maintaining a healthy diet has never been easier, precisely because of the influence of the Latin culture in this country. Award-winning author Leticia Schwartz will introduce you to new and improved Latin recipes to enjoy without compromising on flavor!
If I had to choose one recipe from the classic Latin repertoire to serve as an example of all the substitutions that can be made to health-ify a recipe, this is it. Arroz con Pollo is an incredible delicious dish, full of flavor, and full of satisfaction. The original recipe is not all that fatty, but depending on the type of sausage, chicken, and rice you eat, it might be on the edge for those concerned with losing weight or type 2 diabetes.
By using brown rice, chicken or turkey sausage, and skinless-less chicken breasts, it becomes a lot more diabetes-friendly recipe. At the same time, you don't sacrifice flavor, as the herbs and spices are here in full gear.
Recipe: Arroz con Pollo
Serves 6 to 8
For the chicken:
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 skinless chicken breasts
For the rice:
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ounces turkey or chicken sausage, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 3 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 4–5 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped finely
- 2 cups brown rice such as jasmine
- 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Prepare the chicken marinade:
1. Mince and mash garlic into a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in lime
juice and oregano. Add the chicken pieces and rub all over with marinade, until well coated. Cover with
plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Cook the chicken and rice:
1. Spread chicken over a sheet pan covered with paper towels and pat dry. Season with freshly ground
pepper on both sides.
2. In a large heavy pot (at least 12 inches wide) over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Cook the chicken skin side down until lightly browned all over, about 3 minutes per side.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a bowl and cover with foil to keep moist.
4. If there is too much fat, drain a little. If there are too many pieces of garlic stuck to the pan, deglaze
with a little water, about 1⁄2 cup, scraping the bottom of the pan and bring to boil.
5. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook the sausage until lightly
brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Use the same slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to
the bowl with the chicken. Cover again.
6. Reduce the heat to low and add the onions and scallions. Cook until soft and tender, mixing
occasionally with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic
and cook for another minute.
7. Add the paprika, bay leaves, and tomatoes, and cook everything together until soft and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
8. Add the rice and stir well, making sure every grain is shiny and well mixed into the vegetable mixture. If you would like to use the deglazing juices from the chicken, now is the time.
9. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken pieces, sausage, and any
juice that accumulated in the bowl, arranging evenly all over the rice. Season with salt and pepper,
cover, and cook gently until rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 to 30 minutes.
10. Garnish with parsley.
Like this recipe as much as we do? Click here to purchase a copy of Latin Superfoods: 100 Simple, Delicious, and Energizing Recipes for Total Health.