A Letter to My Future 30-Something Year Old Son

7:36 PM

Dear Son,

Now that you have a family of your own, you no doubt have some challenges with your picky eater. You're wondering, "How can this be? I'm a foodie. My wife is a foodie. We get the best produce teleported to us from our virtual CSA!" I know this will come to a surprise, but you too were a picky eater. Especially when it came to eating your vegetables. We tried serving it raw, baked, sautéed, grilled - you name it. You were just like that silly girl Lola from the classic tale of "I Will Never, Not Ever, Eat a Tomato" by Lauren Childs.

So here's a tip I want to share with you that worked for me and your father. Introduce new ingredients with something you know your kids like to eat. So for you, we added veggies to rice. We also found if we got you to help grow veggies in our garden, you were more open to trying it. I've never seen you gobble up tomatoes faster then when we picked them off the vine from the garden in our backyard.

So put away your cookscreens (or whatever you call those fancy cookbooks of the future) and try this one-pot chicken and rice favorite. You loved it as a kid. I think your kids will like it too.


Chicken Sofrito 
Adapted from Food and Wine 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4-8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large thyme sprigs
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup white rice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with chili powder. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until well browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. 
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until onion is softened (about 8 minutes). Add the bell pepper, fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder and cook, stirring until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the chopped tomatoes, raise the heat to high and cook until bubbling. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer. Arrange chicken pieces on the rice. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender.
  3. Transfer chicken to a plate. Discard thyme sprigs, stir in lemon juice and sprinkle almonds on top. Spoon the rice onto plates, add the chicken and serve. 

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