Cooking at Home with Nettie Colón: The Creole Cuisine of Puerto Rico

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Join guest chef Nettie Colón for a class where you'll learn to make a cornerstone "criollo" dish: arroz con pollo.

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Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in the culinary traditions of Spain, Africa and the Taino cultures. While Puerto Rican cuisine is similar to that of Latin American countries, it is a unique flavorful blend of influences, using indigenous ingredients and seasonings. Join guest chef Nettie Colón for a class where you’ll learn all about the “Criollo,” or creole, culinary tradition of Puerto Rico. The dish of the day is Arroz con Pollo, one of the cornerstone “Criollo” dishes in Puerto Rican gastronomy. Prepared by combining rice and chicken in a pot with traditional seasonings like adobo and a delicious sofrito (onion, red or green ají dulce peppers and garlic, among other spices), this is a comforting and soulful dish. Each family has their own family recipe and way of cooking it that has been passed down by the abuelas to any family member that wants to learn it. In Nettie’s abuela’s case, the addition of pigeon peas, banana leaf and Ajilimójili sauce has made this dish a must at her family table—and it’ll become a must at yours, too.

About Nettie: A Minneapolis transplant by way of New York and Puerto Rico, Chef Nettie Colón spent her early years living a reverse West Side Story. Born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico, Nettie Colón spent her formative years learning traditional cooking methods of the island with her grandmother, Maria Brigida Llanes de Jesus, and her friends. For all 48 grandchildren on her mother’s side, time spent on her grandmother’s farm in the remote central mountain town of Utuado offered an idyllic childhood. She got the love of cooking from her abuela, and to this day, that influence is very much alive in every dish that she prepares.

Her love of traveling comes from the time spent hopping around the island to eat with her family. Chef Nettie’s father is from Cayey, where the sector of Guavate aka “The Pork Highway“ is located. That is how she came to realize that people do travel for food, especially in Puerto Rico. This passion of traveling for food has led her to work all over the United States & abroad, with culinary adventures to West Indies, Wales, Spain, France, Sardinia, Southern Italy, Yucatan Peninsula, Costa Rica & Panama. She also taught the history of Mayan cuisine in the Biosphere Reserve of Sia’an Ka’an in Tulum, Yucatan for 9 years where she fell in love with traditional Mayan cooking methods including Pibil, which lead to exploration of underground techniques from around the world such as Pachamanca, Curanto, Hangi and others. She is Chef/Owner of The Red Hen Gastrolab Concept, which is committed to the preservation of the relationships built around food traditions in the kitchen and at the table. She is also Resident Chef at The Break Room Minneapolis at The Historic Machine Shop, a James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp Alumni, BA Craftmade Aprons “Project Black & Blue” Advocate, and Market Chef @ Mill City Farmers Market. She is also a Board Member of the Northern Clay Center of Minnesota.

Want to give this class as a gift? You can purchase gift cards here.

Bonus: All attendees of this class will receive a one-time 15% off coupon to the Milk Street Store after class.

This event has limited spots, and you must register in advance via Eventbrite. One sign-up covers one device. Closed Captioning is available for this event.

Immediately after registering, you will get a confirmation email that contains the Zoom meeting log-in information. At least one week prior to class (or within 48 hours of registering, if you sign up less than a week in advance), you will receive an email with the ingredients, equipment and prep you'll need to cook along, if you choose.

After class, you will receive a recording of the event, as well as recipes and resources that we discuss during the event. If you have any questions about this class, please don't hesitate to get in touch via cookingschool@177milkstreet.com.

Payments for Milk Street live stream classes are non-refundable. If you find yourself unable to attend, you may transfer the ticket to someone else, but we are unable to refund fees and all payments are final.

Proceeds from live stream cooking classes support Milk Street's non-profit work with The Big Sisters Association of Great Boston, The Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, and other partners.

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