Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo) RecipeWritten by CMP on December 14, 2008
When I was younger, my mom learned how to make Spanish style chicken and rice from a neighbor of ours. There were a few other latino-influenced dished she picked up along the way, but this is one she made frequently.
Once I was on my own and cooking for myself, this dish quickly became a habit of mine. I've mentioned a few times in this space that I've never had much time to cook on weekdays, so I'm big on dishes that can be prepared in large batches and refrigerated / frozen for mass quantities of leftovers. This is one of those dishes (but don't freeze this one - the rice doesn't revive itself so well. That said, it keeps nicely in the fridge for 7-10 days).
The original recipe I learned from my mom called for two Goya products - Recaito and Sazón - as the main seasonings. Those are fine products but as I got older I preferred to use as little prepared products as possible and do as much from scratch as my talents and available time would allow. So I've replaced both of those with some fresh herbs, veggies, and dried spices. The end product doesn't taste exactly like the one mom used to make, but you can still find some behind the milk, waiting to be heated up after a long day at work, fairly often.
- 6-8 Chicken Thighs, skinless
- 4 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 3 Cups of Short Grain Rice
- 2 Tbs Ground Coriander
- 1 Tbs Ground Cumin
- 1 Tbs Ground Turmeric
- 1 Tsp Saffron Threads
- 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
- 1 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 4 1/2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1/2 Cup Tomato Puree
- 1 Pack of Frozen Peas
- 1 1/2 Cups Manzanilla Olives
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Heat 2 Tbs of the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, begin browning the chicken thighs - about 3 minutes per side. Don't over crowd the pot and work in batches if you need to.
When the chicken is well browned on both sides, remove it from the pot and set aside. Add the remaining 2 Tbs of olive oil to the pot, along with the chopped onion and bell pepper. Reduce heat to medium and satue until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and saute about one minute longer.
Now add the dry rice to the pot and give it all a good stir to coat the rice with the spices. Add the stock, tomato puree, turmeric, and safon to the pot and raise heat to high. Again, give it a good stir to mix every thing together. Just as the pot begins to boil, return the chicken to the pot, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, uncover the pot. At this point, I like to remove the chicken meat from the thigh bones. This is optional, but it makes for much easier eating and you can trim away any excess fat, etc. Mix the de-boned chicken back into the rice mixture along with the peas, olives, and cilantro. Cover for five minutes longer just so the peas and olives heat through.
Serve right from the pot and have lots of tupperware on hand.