Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

Every time I think about making a chicken dish, my preparations are interrupted by the view from my kitchen windows. I find myself watching the chickens in my backdoor neighbor’s yard. From my perspective, my neighbors are living the American Dream. They have five acres of land plunked down in the middle of a fairly average American middle-class neighborhood. The couple has one little girl and a second baby on the way. They are both educated; the husband works full time at his job and the wife works part time a few evenings a week at a local college. The rest of their time is spent having a little farm in the big city complete with fruit trees, a garden, several horses, a pasture for the happiest free-range chickens that I have ever seen (and a few turkeys), and of course the requisite dog and cat.

I love it when I look out back and the couple’s little girl is walking around the pasture holding a chicken. The chickens are raised to be gentle, so they don’t mind being toted around the yard by a three year old. It’s a perfectly pastoral scene and I feel both joy and peace watching the moments unfold.

There is always a bit of irony as I look between the happy chickens running around outside and the chicken pieces lying waiting for preparation in my kitchen sink. My neighbors are wise with their chickens. Not only do the chickens provide entertainment and companionship for them, they also provide eggs and, when the time is right, they provide food for the family. It’s the natural order of things.

I have thought of raising a few chickens of my own, but I’m afraid that my chickens would be really depressed when they saw how the neighbor’s chickens got to live. True, I really think that way. For now, I’ll content myself with preparing tasty chicken dishes for the fam.

Arroz con Pollo

As I read a large number of recipes and information about arroz con pollo (Spanish chicken and rice), I found that this dish can be quite varied in ingredients. Arroz con pollo originated in Spain, which I was surprised to learn. I had always thought that it was a Hispanic dish, which explains my confusion as I read the ingredients in various recipes. Once I learned the history of arroz con pollo, everything fell into place.

There seems to be no right or wrong way to make this dish. It is regional as well as intercontinental. I thought about everything that I had learned and decided to make up my own version of arroz con pollo. Please understand that I am not being snobby when I say that this was surprisingly delicious. Addictively delicious actually. I had fun making something different from the types of food with which I tend to stick, combining flavors which I have not combined previously. The number one ingredient that threw me just a little bit was the pimiento stuffed green olives. I like green olives, but I haven’t ever used them in a casserole. What a great secret ingredient!

Arroz Con Pollo

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

    For the Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • flour for dredging chicken
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For the Rice
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups peeled and seeded, diced fresh tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or a pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 chopped pimento-stuffed green Spanish olives
  • cilantro, optional for seasoning or garnish
  • lime wedges, optional to squeeze over rice and chicken for added flavor

Instructions

  1. Rinse chicken pieces under cool water, removing extra fat and any extra skin. Don’t remove the skin completely, simply trim off any extra skin. Set chicken aside and pat dry.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. While the oil is heating, in a small bowl mix together the salt, onion powder or granulated onion, garlic powder or granulated garlic, paprika, cumin, and black pepper. Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of chicken. You probably will not need all of the seasoning, so save the rest for another time.
  4. Dredge the seasoned chicken in the flour, then place in the frying pan to brown. Turn chicken over once during the browning process. This process is only for browning the chicken. The chicken will finish cooking with the rice. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  5. With heat on medium or medium-low, add the rice to the oil in the pan. Cook and stir rice for about five minutes. Add the poblano, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring as needed until the onions are tender.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes to release some of the juices from the tomatoes.
  7. Pour the chicken stock into the rice mixture. Add the salt, ground cumin, turmeric or saffron threads, red pepper flakes, and chopped pimento-stuffed green Spanish olives. Stir gently to combine all of the ingredients.
  8. Place chicken pieces evenly over the rice mixture. Put a lid on the pan, cover and bring to a low simmer. Cook over low heat until the rice is done and the chicken has cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. If it looks as though the stock will be all used up before either the rice or the chicken has completed cooking, add a bit more liquid. Water or stock will be fine, maybe about 1/2 cup. When the chicken is done, the juices from the chicken should run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken should be 165-degrees F.
  9. If desired, cilantro can be minced and stirred into the rice prior to serving (amount per personal preference), or can be used as a garnish. Lime wedges can be served on the side and the juice squeezed over the rice and chicken for added flavor.
http://tsgcookin.com/2012/10/arroz-con-pollo/

 

Arroz con Pollo
 Mix together the salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, and paprika. Set aside.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Rinse the chicken under cool running water. I lined a baking sheet with paper towels and placed the chicken on top of the paper towels to allow it to drain. I also patted the top of the chicken dry with a couple more paper towels.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Sprinkle the chicken pieces, top and bottom, with the seasoning mixture.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Make sure that the chicken is well seasoned. I had seasoning left over, enough probably to season two more thighs.
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Arroz con Pollo
 I like to use a pie plate to hold the flour for dredging. I don’t measure out the flour, but I’d say it is roughly a cup of flour.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Flour each piece of chicken on both sides.
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Arroz con PolloIn a deep frying pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Brown one side of the chicken in the oil….
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Arroz con Pollo
 …then turn the chicken over and brown the other side. Browning adds depth of flavor. The chicken will only be partially cooked at this point.
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Arroz con Pollo
Remove chicken from pan. I placed the chicken on the same baking sheet that I had used earlier, minus the paper towels.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Add the rice to the pan with the cooking oil. If you don’t like the looks of the cooking oil after the chicken has been cooked, then pour it off and wipe out the pan. Be careful, the pan and oil are hot. Start with fresh olive oil, another 1/4 cup. Cook the rice in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring as needed to keep the rice from burning. Cooking the rice this way brings out a nutty flavor. This is the same method that I use for making Mexican-style rice.
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Arroz con Pollo
I still have fresh tomatoes from my garden, so I used a couple of them. So excellent. I also used a poblano pepper. I really enjoy them because of their vibrant color and their very mild heat. They bring an extra something-something to the party.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Toss the onion, garlic, and poblano with the rice.
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Arroz con Pollo
 At the last minute I decided to add some red pepper flakes, just 1/4 teaspoon. I used them to add a bit more heat, but not over-powering. Cooking the red pepper flakes with these other ingredients in the oil helps to release and heighten the flavor of the pepper flakes.
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Arroz con Pollo
 When the onions have softened, add the tomatoes. Stir them into the rest of the ingredients and cook them for a few minutes to release the tomato juices.
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Arroz con Pollo
 I had some saffron that I wanted to try in this dish. Turmeric is also a good choice and will bring a beautiful color to the rice.
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Arroz con Pollo
 Stir in the chopped Spanish green olives. I have to admit that for me using the green olives was a leap of faith. I wasn’t sure how they would work with the other ingredients. In short, they were delicious, adding just the right amont of tangy contrast and some texture to the rice. Definitely a two thumbs up!
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Arroz con Pollo
 Prior to adding the chicken back to the pan, be sure to stir in the salt and cumin. Then, add the chicken stock. The amount of salt used is dependent on the salt content of the chicken broth. The broth that I used had a very low salt content, plus the tomatoes had no salt because they were fresh, so I went with a full teaspoon addition of salt. Stir the seasonings, broth, and rice mixture well to distribute the ingredients. Place the chicken on top of the rice mixture and put a lid on the pan. When the liquid starts to simmer, lower the heat to low or medium low; whatever is the best temperature on your stove to cook the rice slowly. You want to make sure to give the chicken time to cook without burning the rice, about 30-40 minutes. If it appears that the rice is cooking too quickly, you may need to add some extra broth or water, maybe about 1/2 cup? The chicken is done when the juices run clear or the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165-degrees F. I’m pretty picky about my chicky and use a thermometer to gauge “doneness”.  This meal is great served with peas and either flour or corn tortillas, warm and soft. Cilantro can either be used as a garnish or minced and stirred into rice just prior to serving. Lime wedges can be served on the side and squeezed over rice or chicken for added flavor.
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Arroz con Pollo
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Comments

  1. says

    Yum! This looks so delicious . . . I made America’s Test Kitchen’s arroz con pollo once and remember being blown away. Your version looks awesome too! Mmmm.

  2. says

    Another gorgeous dish my friend! I have always wanted to make this dish and from looking at your pictures it makes me wish I had some of this for dinner tonight. You are really a wonderful cook and your step by step pictures really make the dish come alive. Well done. 🙂

  3. Amy says

    Made this for the family (including 6 & 4 year old) tonight and it was a big hit! DH noted that it was a multi-ethnic dish as it had flavors that could have passed for Indian (I ended up using turmeric), Mediterranean and Mexican. Thanks!

  4. Olivia says

    Glad you used chicken thighs. I saw many recipies using white meat chicken and I find it too dry sometimes. I’m trying this for tonight!

  5. Anny Moctezuma says

    I tried your recipe today and it came out so good!!! This will be my go-to Arroz con Pollo recipe from now on. Thank you!!!

  6. Tracee says

    I’d prefer to cook in oven after adding chicken back in. Any thoughts on temp and time? Also, by cooking covered, do you find the crispy chicken skin getting soft? My friends mom used to make this and I’m making my first attempt!

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