Sunday, December 14, 2008

Arroz con Pollo

This comforting Spanish dish probably has as many variations as there are Hispanic countries. Spaniards, of course make it, but they also make it in Cuba, Peru, Puerto Rico, and on and on. Some recipes call for bell pepper, some for olives, all sorts of add ins. I didn't add bell pepper or olives, but I did add peas and a few threads of saffron. Usually I add some Chorizo, but I didn't have any on hand for this one. I usually use chicken thighs because they are so flavorful, but all parts of the chicken are welcome.
6 chicken thighs
2 cups of rice (short grains like arborio are best, but I used long grain)
1/4 cup each of diced carrot, celery, and onion
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of Saffron threads
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, as needed
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas

In a Dutch Oven or 12 " iron skillet, brown the chicken, skin side down, over high heat until the skin is browned and some schmaltz has accumulated.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and hold on a platter. Lower the heat to medium low and add the rice and stir to coat with the schmaltz and cook slightly until the rice becomes opaque, as for risotto.

Add the vegetables and seasonings to the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Place the thighs, browned skin up on top of the rice, and add any accumulated juices.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour, add extra stock, if the rice becomes too dry.

5 minutes before serving, stir in the peas and return to the oven.


Kevin said...

A very nice take on a very classic "home style" Mexican dish. Arroz con Pollo is to the Hispanic community what roast beef is to Anglos. Everyone prepares it, and everyone prepares it the way their family prepared it before them. With that being said, I think the saffron addition would not be used in the vast majority of Hispanic homes....simply too expensive.

Most season this dish very simply, salt, pepper, garlic, amd cumin. That's all I use. The cumin is what really gives it the flavor. I guess the paprika would give it some color. I don't add peas or carrots (celery and onion only) but I think they would work well.

Browning the chicken AND the rice is a must, I like to sweat the celery and onion also. I also like to through in a couple of bullion cubes w/the stock.

I've never baked this dish, always do it on top of the stove. I did a very large batch of this just week for a out-of-the-office meeting. Prepared enough for 25, browned the meat(I used boneless skinless breast so people wouldn't have to mess w/bones) and rice the night before. Put it all together in a large electric roaster. Came out very good.

Thumbbook said...

My grandma used to make a dish like this for Christmas. Thanks for posting this recipe,would love to make it soon. Oh, and if you have time will you drop by at Foodista ? We are building an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia which we will be launching this week and you can also check out our recipes on the site as well :) Cheers!