Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)

One of my favorite episodes of I Love Lucy is called Job Switching. It's the one where Lucy and Ethel switch places with Ricky and Fred, where the girls find jobs while the boys take care of the home. Although the most memorable scene of the episode is definitely the chocolate factory, another one of my favorites is when Ricky tells Fred he is making the Cuban dish arroz con pollo, or chicken with rice, for dinner and then all hell breaks lose.

In honor of this hilarious moment in television history, today I'm sharing a much less messy recipe for arroz con pollo. It's easy to make, very comforting, and full of flavor. The peas, asparagus, and pimientos brighten up the dish, while the chicken and rice are tender and comforting. I actually used a mixture of chicken parts from a butchered whole chicken including 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and a bone-in breast cut into 3 pieces for a half portion of the recipe below. It made about 4 to 5 servings, but the full recipe for up to 10 servings follows.

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
Serves 10
Adapted from (The Cuban Table)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded and cut into rounds
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
One 12-ounce bottle of pilsner-style beer, divided
1/2 pound asparagus, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch long pieces
1 medium yellow onion, grated
1 cup jarred pimientos, drained and sliced
1 cup English peas, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and mashed into a paste
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cube chicken bouillon
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground achiote seeds or Bijol seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups Valencia or similar short-grain rice, rinsed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof, 6-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven until hot but not smoking. Add the green pepper to the oil. Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set aside the browned chicken and repeat with the remaining pieces. Remove the green pepper and discard.

To deglaze the pot, add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits. Return the browned chicken to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients except for the rice, and half the beer and part of the pimientos to add at the end. Bring to a simmer.

Stir in the rice and simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from direct heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and set in the preheated oven, and bake until the rice is tender but still moist, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately pour in the remaining beer. Garnish with the reserved pimientos.


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