Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Arroz Con Pollo (Cuban Chicken with Rice)

A year and a half ago, I ripped this recipe out of the Gourmet magazine. It took a reminder from Smitten Kitchen for me to unearth it from the magazine rack and actually make it. (Here's a bonus link to the picture and recipe from that issue of Gourmet because their picture of the meal looks so much more inviting than mine does.)

This was the other dish that came out of my sudden, fierce craving for meat of all kinds. This meal contains not just chicken but also pork! Yeah! I felt guilty for buying fancy chorizo (who even knew it existed?), but it was definitely worth it, especially considering I made so much that John and I are still eating Arroz Con Pollo a week later... Good thing we like it!

For marinating chicken

  • 3 large garlic cloves (I used six)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 4 chicken breast halves with bone, halved crosswise
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • ***I used one roasting chicken (about a 4-pounder) that
    I cut into pieces instead of the amounts stated above, and there was still plenty of meat in the meal. I boiled the carcass to make chicken noodle soup later in the week, and I'd recommend anyone else to do the same!

For rice

  • 3 oz hot Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), skin discarded and sausage cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (I used about 4 oz. because I used less chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon annatto oil or olive oil (I used olive)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I omitted these because fresh peppers are rare in winter)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1 lb tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle beer (not dark)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice (14 oz)
  • 1/4 cup drained rinsed bottled pimiento or roasted red-pepper strips (I used a bunch of pepper strips I'd roasted and frozen last summer, much more than 1/4 cup.)

Marinate chicken:

  • Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano.
  • Remove skin and excess fat from chicken, then toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour. (I marinated it for about 2 and 1/2 because I was busy.)

Cook chicken and rice:

  • Cook chorizo in oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (12 inches wide) over medium-high heat, stirring, until some fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  • Add chicken with marinade to chorizo mixture and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes. Temporarily remove chicken with tongs, and then stir in tomatoes, beer, broth, and rice. Place chicken on top and bring to a boil, making sure rice is submerged.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover mixture directly with a round of parchment or wax paper and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, stirring once or twice, until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard parchment paper and bay leaves, then scatter pimiento strips over rice.

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