A Pilgrimage to Mondo Food’s Cooking Mecca, Otherwise Known as The Wall of Spice, Is Encouraged [and a recipe for Arroz con Pollo!]

Post by guest writer, Keri Grundstein

When Mondofood.com opened a physical location in The Source at the beginning of September, it was a run-don’t-walk situation.
The website is an amazing resource of ingredients that makes a foodie’s heart pitter-pitter-patter.
The physical manifestation of that much gloriousness had to be seen.
I was crossing off days on my calendar, counting down to September 1st like a 6 year old waiting for Santa to shoot down the chimney.
Mondo Market did not disappoint – the space is filled with a well-curated selection of the meats, cheeses, and pantry staples that can be found on the website.
Olives, and garlic, and jellies, OH MY!
I could gawk for hours (but I try to self-limit, because nobody wants to be ‘that creepy girl at The Source who stares’).
The real pièce de résistance of Mondo Market is what can only be called The Wall of Spice.
A fixture along a good portion of the back wall consisting of an installation of tall shelves FILLED with a dizzying variety of bulk spices. Triumphant in both size and selection, it can’t be rushed by with a cursory once over.
It deserves time.
This is because the true joy of The Wall of Spice is in the discovery of just what, exactly, there is to be had.
Tried-and-true favorites like whole nutmeg, varieties of basil and beautiful dried lavender (hint – Lavender Lemon Drop Martini, people!) mix in with creative blends guaranteed to inspire all kinds of culinary greatness from your kitchen.
Smoked Toasted Onion Mustard, perfect Bloody Mary Mix (pause for reverence), “Mike’s Tuscan Prime Rib Rub”, which I find myself rubbing on every cut of meat that comes through my kitchen, and Tomato Basil Chipotle, to offer a few mouth-watering examples.
When I see The Wall, I hear angels sing.
I kind of black out.
Spice hoarding ensues.

LET THE EXPERIMENTING BEGIN!
The aforementioned Tomato Basil Chipotle has spawned a new version of an old favorite in our house, giving my Arroz con Pollo a secret ninja flavor kick. Except I am terrible at keeping my own secrets, so am sharing it with you. Thank you, Mondo Market, for The Wall of Spice.

Arroz con Pollo
What You Need
4 chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin removed
2 T Mondo Market Tomato Basil Chipotle Seasoning
1 cup medium grain rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion – medium dice
1 green pepper – medium dice
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained of juice
Olive Oil

What You Do
Rinse and dry chicken pieces
Reserve 1 t of seasoning, and use the remaining amount to coat all of the chicken pieces, rubbing seasoning into meat; place in zip top bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight
To Prepare Dish:
-Coat the bottom of a large skillet or stovetop-safe casserole with olive oil and heat on medium high
-Place chicken pieces in pan and cook on each side for 5-6 minutes (get some good color on there, give them a chance to start cooking, and seal in all of those juices)
-Remove Chicken from pan and add onion and pepper to pan, adding oil if needed, stir until onion is translucent, add rice and stir to coat in oil
-Add stock, reserved seasoning, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the skillet to deglaze and release all of those beautiful flavorful bits from browning the chicken into the rice mixture
-When boiling, return chicken to the skillet, cover and reduce heat to low
-Simmer covered on low for 30 minutes, NOT removing lid – Seriously – NO TOUCHY! It will be fine, I promise
-Turn off heat, uncover, and remove chicken, stir rice mixture; it will absorb any juices as it sits
-Plate rice and top with chicken
-Eat!

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