I lived in South America for a good part of my pre-teen years and there isn’t a dish more tasty and comforting than chicken and rice. The spices alone will send me down memory lane. I share this with you on “taco Tuesday” as an alternative to tacos. There is so much good Latino food out there to enjoy!
My recipe – a combination of recipes I’ve found and what I remember from my childhood – is below:
Chicken (3 1/2 – 4 lbs) cut into 8 serving pieces and skin removed
1 medium onion finely diced
A medley of green, red and yellow peppers diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup green olives sliced (add the pimentos too!)
2 teaspoons of salt
1 – 2 tsp of cumin (I love cumin so I add more)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons of oil (your preference – I use olive oil)
1 1/2 cups of long-grain rice (or use a box of Arroz Amarillo for a quicker meal)
1 1/2 cups of low-salt chicken stock
1/2 cup tomato sauce
* 1/2 cup of pre-soaked raisins (I always add raisins to this dish but it isn’t necessary)
*1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed (I hate peas so I never add this vegetable to my dish although it is very common in Arroz con Pollo.)
Combine the 1 tsp of the salt, 1/2 tsp of the cumin, black pepper and cayenne in a plastic bag – make sure the mixture is combined.
Pat the chicken dry and place chicken in the bag with spices. Shake that bag and make sure every piece of chicken is covered.
Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
Add the onions, the peppers, 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the skillet. Cook the vegetables over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and fragrant. This will take about 7 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook until the rice begins to turn gold in color.
Combine the stock, tomato sauce and remaining 1/2 of teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and give it a good stir. Add the stock mixture to the skillet along with 1 1/4 cups water and stir to make sure the rice is covered in liquid. Nestle the chicken in the rice, adding any juices from the plate. Bring the rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees), the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, (25 – 35 minutes).
This photo is pretty isn’t it? I admit I didn’t take it because I cut my chicken up and after it’s cooked and put it back in with the rice mixture. And as I’ve suggested, I remove the skin of the chicken as well. Therefore it isn’t as good looking as the dish below, but oh-my-gosh is it good.