Friday, October 4, 2013

Arroz Con Pollo

Last Year's Post: Spicy Homemade Peanut Butter
Two Years Ago:  Gingered Turkey and Spinach Salad

Arroz Con Pollo (air-oz cohn poy-oh) is a traditional dish from Latin America and the Caribbean.  The translation from Spanish is "chicken with rice" but that's not nearly as fun to say.  Although there are many variations, chicken, rice, saffron, tomatoes and olives are standard.  This particular recipe also has peas and I switched out bone-in skin-on chicken pieces in favor of boneless skinless chicken thighs, which are healthier and easier to eat.

The taste reminds me somewhat of paella because both dishes have rice and saffron, but paella traditionally is seafood-based.  Another difference is the addition of the citrus juices used to marinate the chicken, a technique common in Latin America.  Although I don't consider this dish to be particularly fancy, it's very flavorful and a departure from your everyday chicken recipes, plus the fragrance from the saffron is wonderful.

It's not at all difficult but including the marinating time, this dish takes a little over two hours to prepare so if you need to have dinner on the table fast after work you might want to either make this in advance or plan to serve it on a weekend.  It reheats perfectly by the way, and leftovers make great work lunches. I love having leftovers for lunch - they're usually much healthier and more interesting than whatever you'll find in your cafeteria or the nearest fast food place, plus it's a lot cheaper.

click here for a printable recipe

Arroz Con Pollo
Serves 6-8

For chicken
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For rice
1 lb onions, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 (14- to 15-oz) can diced tomatoes, including juice
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (12 fl oz)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups long-grain white rice (3/4 lb)
1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed; 5 oz)
1/2 cup small or medium pimiento-stuffed green olives (2 oz), halved crosswise
1/4 cup drained chopped bottled pimientos (2 oz), rinsed

Prepare chicken:
Purée garlic, orange juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Put chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour purée over them, turning to coat. Marinate chicken, covered and chilled, turning occasionally, 1 hour.  Transfer chicken, letting excess marinade drip back into bowl, to paper towels, then pat dry. Reserve marinade.  Heat oil and butter in 6- to 7-quart pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken as browned to a plate, reserving fat in pot.

Prepare rice and bake arroz con pollo:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic in fat in pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits from chicken, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

While vegetables cook, heat saffron in a dry small skillet over low heat, shaking skillet, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Add cumin and salt to vegetables and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in saffron mixture, bay leaf, tomatoes (including juice), broth, water, and reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Add all chicken pieces and gently simmer, covered, over low heat 10 minutes. Stir in rice, then return to a simmer. Cover pot tightly, then transfer to oven and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Scatter peas, olives, and pimientos over rice and chicken (do not stir) and let stand, pot covered with a kitchen towel, until peas are heated through and any remaining liquid is absorbed by rice, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Looks quite tasty