Week of 4/20-Arroz con Pollo

I first learned how to make this from my Mom (a really fine cook) who used a recipe from a 1947 Duncan Hines cookbook! This recipe is an amalgamation of various I have tried over the years.

Recipe: Arroz con Pollo (serves 4)

3 steps: Prep/Cook/Serve

Whatchaneed:

  1. Prep: (Mise en Place-basically French for “get everything ready so you aren’t scrambling anything but eggs”) 😉
      1. Equipment
        • Cutting board
        • A medium size bowl
        • Your favorite knife/A good chef’s knife
        • A large, heavy Dutch oven or other pot- Staub, Le Creuset are great but any heavy pot that will hold everything (min. 6 quart?—if you don’t have one that large, just cut the recipe down) (Yeah, there is some math involved…see, your 4th grade teacher was right about needing it later!) 😊
        • Spoon, spatula—something to stir with
        • Garlic press
        • Tongs—something to use to place/remove chicken pieces
        • Large measuring cup
        • Plate for browned chicken
      2. Ingredients
        • Proteins
          • 4-6 chicken thighs—way more flavorful than breasts. You can also just use a cut up whole chicken, drumsticks…. I like skin on—more flavor
        • Vegetables
          • Bell peppers-1 red/1 green (other colors work as well but the red gives the best flavor here)
          • 1 good sized onion- I like sweet but any yellow onion will do. Thumbnail size pieces or a little smaller. Add to bowl
          • 1 can diced tomatoes (optional—liquid is ok to add if you don’t want to drain)
        • Spices
          • 2-4 cloves fresh garlic (or equivalent)
          • Saffron threads (these are incredibly expensive. If you don’t have them or can’t get them, you can buy “Yellow Rice” or another rice product that has that flavor profile built in. Just be careful of the salt content. Also, you just won’t get the same flavor.)
          • Black pepper/salt
          • 1-2 tsp Paprika
          • A little Cayenne/Red Pepper flakes if you want more heat–just add when you add the Paprika.
        • Other
          • Olive oil (2+ tablespoons-enough to sauté the veg)
          • 2 cups rice—regular long-grain white is fine, but you can get fancy. Just be sure to match the amount of stock/liquid per the cooking instruction for whatever rice you choose. I always add a bit more liquid than suggested.
          • 3.5-4 cups Chicken stock/broth (remember you can always add more during cooking, see below), plus another 1 cup in reserve.

Whatchado

  1. Cook
    • Heat the olive oil in the Dutch oven/large pot-medium heat (enough so the chicken sizzles when you put it in but not smoking)
    • Pat the chicken pieces dry (always before sauteing/browning)
    • Season chicken with salt/pepper
    • Brown on both sides and set aside on plate (approx 5 mins/side)
    • Put chopped peppers/onion into same pot (you should have plenty of oil/chicken fat in there. If not, add a little more olive oil), stir thoroughly to cover with the oil and sauté until onions begin to turn a little bit gold/brown. Stir frequently. Add the tomatoes, mix in and let cook for a couple of minutes.
    • Add the pressed/minced garlic to the pot and stir in. (If you add too soon, the garlic can burn) and stir and sauté for another minute or two
    • Turn the heat down
    • Add the rice and paprika and mix thoroughly. It’s ok to let this cook a little
    • Pour some of the stock into the measuring cup (or another container). Add a good pinch of the saffron to the stock and stir until the saffron is somewhat dissolved. I love the flavor, so I use 1 good sized pinch for every 2 cups of stock. I also crush the threads between my fingers as I add them to allow them to mix more easily. (NOTE-if you are using unsalted broth or stock, I suggest adding some salt to your pot at some point….)
    • Add all the stock to the pot, mix everything together (all rice should be covered by the stock)
    • Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice/veg mixture—try not to submerge the chicken
    • Turn up the heat until the stock is boiling, then turn down to low, COVER POT and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (~15 minutes?) TEST (taste the rice—if it is still a little under-cooked, add another ½-1 cup of stock (or water) and let it cook a bit longer. If the rice is really tender and there is still too much liquid in the pot than you want (it should be moist but not a soup or stew)), let it cook down uncovered for a bit. Also, I like to finish the cooking by placing the uncovered pot (OVEN SAFE?) on the oven on broil for a few minutes to slightly brown the top (this can help cook off any excess liquid as well).
  2. Serve
    1. I like to use a large shallow bowl for each serving.
    2. Wine pairing—almost any good white wine—Chardonnay, Sauvignon or Fume Blanc but to keep it in the family, why not a white wine from Spain?