I’m going to sound like a broken record when I tell you that, as a kid, all I wanted in the world were terrible-for-you foods. Unfortunately, the only thing fun my mama was willing to buy us were frozen pot pies. I took what I could get! I loved the flakey crust and rich filling. The overly cooked peas and carrots…not so much.
These two lil’ baby pot pies are a way better version than the mediocre pot pies that I’d devour after school while watching The Power Rangers. Here’s what makes them fancy:
1. Schmaltz. Yassss!! This crust is special. Instead of butter (you can totally use butter if you don’t have schmaltz) I used schmaltz and it resulted in a really delicious, more crumb-like, very chicken-y crust. Oh man. I like it a lot!
There are days when I miss home. I didn’t grow up with my mom cooking Cuban food, but when you grow up most of your life in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home, too.
Cuban food was a big part of my eating growing up. If there was a big family get together, we’d often times be eating at a Cuban restaurant. There were days when I’d get out of school and head to little hole in the wall Cuban joint and I’d sit there with my friends, in our Catholic school uniforms, drinking coke and eating chicken palomilla, maduros and my all-time favorite, ropa vieja.
I hardly ever get the opportunity to eat Cuban food now (the few Cuban restaurants in Los Angeles are kinda awful) so when this cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, arrived at my doorstep, I was V V excited. I began thumbing through it, ooing and ahhing.
I landed on this chicken because it has everything I love about Cuban cooking. It’s inexpensive, it uses my favorite parts of the chicken (dark meat 4evr!) and it has mojo. MOJO IS EVERYTHING!
Mojo is a combination of sour oranges, onions, garlic and spices like ground cumin and oregano. Mojo is the heart and soul of this dish and a popular base for a lot of Cuban dishes.
My mom always likes to remind that when I was a lil’ kid, the only part of the chicken I would eat were the drumsticks. I’m pretty sure I felt like it was very Flinstone’s-esque of me to be eating drumsticks. Also, Medieval Times! That place gave you big turkey legs for dinner (much like most Renaissance fairs) and I thought it was the most hilarious thing ever.
Now that I’m a boring adult, I hardly ever reach for drumsticks unless they’re teeny chicken drummettes which is a whole other thing! This recipe is awesome because it allows me to eat all of the drumsticks. And the sauce is my absolute favorite thing ever. I want to put it on everything: chicken, salmon, tofu, you name it.
A few years ago I remember my dad calling me telling me I must, I MUST make homemade teriyaki sauce for the blog. I brushed him off thinking to myself, How good can it be. Wrong way to think. Bad attitude, Adrianna!
Like all homemade versions of things you most likely can buy at the store, the best part about making the homemade version is customization.