Arroz con Pollo
|The Clay Cooking Pot is from Ancient Cookware|
When you smell the aromas of a rice stew with chicken (Arroz con Pollo) cooking in a clay pot, your mind wanders to a distant place, like a kitchen on a farm where a grandmother is cooking just for you. The juices that the chicken releases impart an incredibly delicious flavor to the rice. The vegetables you add (like carrots) also benefit from these wholesome flavors.
Many Latin-American countries have their own version of “Arroz con Pollo”. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that every single home cook has their own version; some add red or green peppers, olives, and other local ingredients. The types of ingredients can even depend on the economic situation, for example: my mother used to add hot dog sausages to it.
I think that “Arroz con Pollo” has without a doubt one of the most harmonious combinations of ingredients out of all the one-pot dishes. Additionally, it is easy to make and uses simple ingredients that can be found anywhere. I invite you to prepare this wonderful dish and enjoy it with your family.
This is my own version of Arroz con Pollo. I know that some of you might remember your mom’s or grandma’s versions, and if so, I hope you share them with me in the comments section!
ARROZ CON POLLO – RICE WITH CHICKEN
- 1 cup of rice*
- 4 pieces of chicken
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- ½ cup carrots, diced
- 1/3 cup onion
- ½ cup frozen green peas**
- 2 small garlic cloves, or 1 large garlic clove
- 2 plum tomatoes (about 8 oz.), chopped
- Salt to taste
- 3 cilantro sprigs
- *I use long grain rice
- ** Place the green peas in a small bowl with warm water to defrost. Drain them then set aside until ready to use.
- You can use any part of the chicken, just make sure that all the pieces are roughly the same size so that they can cook evenly.
1. Rinse the rice and place in a bowl. Cover with warm water and let it soak for 15 minutes.
2. While the rice is soaking, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large cazuela or pot. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and set aside.
3. Now it is time to cook the rice. Drain the rice using a strainer and shake to make sure it doesn’t have any excess moisture. Before adding the rice to the cazuela, make sure that there is only about one tablespoon of oil in it. If you see more oil or fat from the chicken in the cazuela, remove it, since too much oil will render a mushy rice. Now, stir in the rice and cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes.
4. Add the diced carrots and the chopped onions. Cook for 3 more minutes.
5. Place the chopped tomato and garlic in your blender along with ¾ cups of warm water and process until smooth.
6. Pour this mixture over the rice and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat, season with salt, add the chicken pieces, and cover the cazuela (or pot). Cook for 1 minute, then add the cilantro sprigs and the drained green peas (see note above). Keep cooking for 6-8 more minutes.
7. After you are done cooking, remove the cazuela or pot from the heat and let it rest for 12-15 more minutes. Some cooks cover the pot with a kitchen towel in order to absorb all the moisture from the rice.
(Check to see if your rice needs a little bit more water. If it does, add a couple of tablespoons of hot water at a time. Remember that the chicken will also release its own moisture. Just make sure to check the rice, and do not add too much liquid.)
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