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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Gringa's Take on Arroz con Pollo

So I know kind of instinctively what arroz con pollo is all about, although I've never actually tasted the dish.  I have seen it prepared on numerous cooking shows on TV and read so many recipes for it.  My spirit, which imagines that it's Latina, although in truth I'm Scotch-Irish, German, and Native American, among other things, believes that it understands the essence of this quintessential Latin American dish.  All this is by way of explanation that the following recipe, although absolutely scrumptious, if I do say so myself, makes no claims to be precisely traditional nor authentic to any Latin American region.

Arroz con Pollo

2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil to coat pan
3 1/2 ounce package Goya chorizo  (Spanish style chorizo, not Mexican style), thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 head of garlic, minced
1 to 1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, rinsed, trimmed of excess fat, and dried
1 cup homemade vegetable broth or water
18 ounces beer (1 1/2 cans)
2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes
1 Goya sazon packet
2 ounces capers, rinsed and drained
14-ounce package Goya valencia style rice, rinsed and drained
2-3 ounces pimientos, diced
1 cup frozen green peas
3 ounces manzanilla olives, cut in half

Heat a large cast iron frying pan or traditional Puerto Rican-style aluminum caldero over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add chorizo, tomato, and onion.  Cook over medium heat until onion is softened.  Add garlic and then add chicken pieces, nestling each piece into the bottom of the caldero.  Cook over medium heat until chicken thighs release easily from pan, then turn thighs over.  Again cook until chicken thighs release easily from pan.

At this point add 1 cup vegetable broth or water, the 2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes, 18 ounces beer, and 1 packet of Goya sazon, and stir to mix.

Bring to a simmer, then add the rice and capers and stir to mix.  Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed .  Then using a spatula or large spoon gently fold over all the rice.

Add half of the olives, pimientos, and peas.  Cover the caldero with a lid and cook at very low temperature for 20 minutes.  Again fold over the rice with a spatula or large spoon.

Add the remaining olives, pimientos, and peas.  Continue cooking at very low temperature with lid off about 10 minutes until any remaining liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.