While Anaheim Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was hitting his 450th home run last year, his wife, Deidre Pujols, was knee-deep in calderos, the Dutch oven of Latin American cooking. The price tag comes with a good cause: Proceeds from her new cookware line, Pujols Kitchen Cookware, benefit poverty-stricken families around the world by providing meals and other necessities. The couple's Pujols Family Foundation already assists impoverished families in Albert's native Dominican Republic (Deidre traces her culinary roots to Mexico).
The cookware includes various sauté pans, a glass baking dish and assorted kitchen tools (spatulas, spoons, ladles), but the stars here are the calderos ("cauldrons") in various sizes.
Get more after the jump, including Deidre's pollo guisado, the spicy Dominican chicken stew that she calls "home run chicken" for its purported effects on her husband.
A caldero is that one coveted piece of cookware Latin American cooks turn to time and again, much like a trusty Le Creuset Dutch oven, that outperforms itself in more applications than ever imaginable. They are used to make rice dishes like arroz con pollo, braise meats, and tackle any simmering or frying projects.
Calderos are traditionally made of cast aluminum, a much lighter metal than cast iron that was popular with mid-century American cooks but hasn't gained as much traction in recent years (aluminum heats more quickly but doesn't hold its heat as long as cast iron and can develop "hot spot"). Stainless steel, on the other hand, has a devout All-Clad American following today. Deidre's version merges both cultures. It is a traditionally-shaped caldero made of 3-ply stainless steel with an ergonomic design thrown in for our modern carpal tunnel times.
That stainless steel construction is a pretty clever idea that made rare caldero appearances in our quick Google search; oddly, it's not promoted loudly on the website or in press materials, as it seems ergonomics gets all the kitchen glory these days. No matter, as we're also here for the nonprofit bonus. To quote Deidre from a press release: "Cooking, for me, is an expression of love and of serving others," she says. "From the time I came up with the idea, the mission of Pujols Kitchen has been to bless the less fortunate, and now we are one step closer."
Perhaps the solution for world peace really does come down to a little more baseball and a lot more pollo guisado.
You can buy Deidre Pujols' calderos online at Pujols Kitchen.
Deidre Pujols' Pollo Guisado (Spicy Chicken Stew)
From: Deidre Pujols.
Note: Pujols refers to this dish as "home run chicken" for the effect she says it seems to have on her husband. Get the recipes for the rice and Abichuela Dominicana (Dominican beans) that she serves with the chicken at Pujols Kitchen.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 big spoons of sazon completo seasoning mix
1 pinch of sugar
1 large Maggie chicken bullion cube (or 2 small cubes)
1 package whole chicken cut up, skin removed (leave the chicken on the bone)
Water to cover chicken
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp of cumin
Salt to taste
1. Add the sazon completo, bullion and sugar until bullion cube is broken down and sugar lightly browns.
2. Add chicken and let fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring to get all sides browned.
Add water just to the top of chicken and add tomato paste and cumin. Bring water to boil, stirring to break up tomato paste. Taste the water for salt. As the water evaporates, the flavor of the salt will come through, so be careful not to over salt.
3. Cook chicken 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take care to leave some of the reduced sauce at the bottom of the pan to pour over chicken when served.