We were out shopping the other day and came across a really good buy on cut up chicken. Well in my quest to find something to cook for IHCC's Potluck theme this week I found Mark Bittmman's recipe for Arroz con Pollo in his book How To Cook Everything. So how convenient for me. I was really taken by surprise at how good this was. The recipe starts on page 653 and continues on to page 654. The real surprise came to me when I found at the end of his recipe there are additions to make this dish a Grand Arroz con Pollo. Well that is the one I settled on as the first one actually sounded a bit bland.
I cut the ingredients in half to make just 2 servings.
Michael says that the dish would be even better if the skin was left off the chicken. I would have to agree. We both thought this was a very flavorful recipe.
I think the lemon is a must. It brightened up the dish perfectly.
3 cups chicken or other stock
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 medium onions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups short grain white rice
Pinch of saffron threads
1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces, or any combination of parts
Chopped fresh parsley
Lemon or lime wedges for serving
Additions to make Grand version
4 ounces of bacon, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 red bell pepper (or mixture of red and green) chopped
1 tomato, chopped (preferably peeled and seeded)
Pinch of ground allspice
1 bay leaf
1 cup peas, (fresh or thawed frozen)
Warm the stock while you cook the onions. Put olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and become translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the rice to the onions and stir until it's coated with oil, a minute or two; sprinkle with the saffron if you like and stir again. Nestle the chicken pieces in the rice, add a little more salt and pepper, and pour in the warmed stock. Bring the mix to a boil; adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.
Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through; the bird is done when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155-165 degrees. (At this point, you may keep the dish warm over very low heat for another 15 minutes, and it will retain its heat for 15 minutes beyond that and still be good warm rather than hot.) Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon or lime wedges.
Grand Arroz con Pollo.It's all about additions. While the stock warms, render about 4 ounces of bacon, cut into small cubes, in the skillet in 1 tablespoon oil. Remove it with a slotted spoon and cook the onions and rice as directed. When the rice is ready, add garlic, bell peppers, tomato, allspice, bay leaf, and saffron. Proceed with the recipe; if you like, add 1 cup of peas to the dish about 10 minutes before the dish is finished.
Makes 4 servings
Michael and Carla