What is hogao (oh-gah-oh)? It is one of the most traditional Colombian seasoning sauces. Consider it a variant of sofrito. The ing redients vary from region to region in Colombia, but it was originally created in Antioquia- in this region the people are known as paisanos– which is where I was born!
In South America, the idea behind it is to make it taste like what going home means for you. It brings people around the table or tastes like a warm hug for yourself. I loved hogao growing up, and, because of it’s flexibility, I now love using it with a variety of meals. With a simple foundation of tomato and onion, there are many directions you can go with it, making it friendly for most dietary needs!
-1 chicken breast from local Dawnbreaker Farms
-1-2 larger sized slicing tomatoes
-1 large yellow onion
-1 bundle of green onion
-2 (or more) garlic cloves
-Cayenne pepper powder
-Cilantro (optional add-in for the rice)
1. Start a pot of rice of your choice
2. After washing veggies and chicken, set chicken aside while you prep your veggies. Cut each vegetable as small as you can manage (like a chunkier diced cut) I like a pretty even balance of onion and tomato, but you can measure to taste.
3. Set aside a small portion of your veggies to add to your pot of rice for more flavor (add cilantro for a more Spanish style rice). Stir these veggies, additional spices, and salt & pepper in only once your rice is resting, having absorbed all the water. Use the adobo and cayenne to achieve the red color.
4. Put the chicken breast and spices in a big mixing bowl. Add a dash of olive oil, cayenne pepper, adobo seasoning, garlic salt, sea salt, and black pepper. All of this is measured to your taste buds. For example, I like my food to have a bit of a kick, so my hand is heavier on the cayenne and adobo. Add the veggies in after you’ve thoroughly coated the chicken.
5. Let the chicken soak in seasonings for about 15 minutes, try to make sure veggies are distributed evenly on the chicken.
6. I typically like to cook my chicken on the grill, but you can cook it on a stove top, in the oven, or in a slow cooker for this recipe as well. Regardless, slow and steady wins the race. For this recipe, I used bone-in chicken breast and cook it bone-side down first for the first half of the grilling.
7. Start on medium heat and finish on a low heat. If you like it crispier like I do, this could take 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly your grill (or other) cooks.
8. While the chicken is cooking, saute your veggies in a pan. The olive oil you marinated them in may be enough, but add more olive oil as needed. Cook until the onions are translucent and tomato tender with juices released. Remove from heat.
9. Once you’ve given your chicken the final turn, add some of your cooked veggies and juices on top of the chicken for the last bit of the slow cook on low. As you take the chicken off to rest, place them into your finished veggies for extra flavor.
10. Put your plate together! Any excess veggies and juices can be poured back on top of the chicken. For this dish I usually pair it with rice and some sliced limes, but again, with hogao there are so many different possibilities. Non meat eaters can leave out the chicken and add their favorite substitutes. Make it with your eggs, on top of a salad, in soup, or even just by itself.