Thursday, 6 September 2012

Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo, Latin Rice with Chicken

This dish originated in Spain and is still relished in every household. When the Spaniards went to Latin America they carried forward their love for this dish and it was so tasty that the Latin Americans welcomed it with open arms or rather open mouths :) This dish is also quite famous in Caribbeans, specially in Cuba and Peurto Rico. Jokes apart, I learnt about this dish, from a Spanish social worker, who came to India for a year and taught in some church run schools. She used to cook Spanish/Portuguese and Latin American food every weekend during her holidays and I was a permanent feature of her dining table. I always liked this dish because it is light and tasty. This is an ideal one pot meal, when you are too tired at the end of the day...

Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Marination Time  : 1 hour to Overnight
Cooking Time      : 45 - 50 minutes
Resting Time       : 10 minutes
Difficulty              : Easy
Serves                  : 4 - 6

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 kilos Chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 Lemon or lime, juice only
  • 3 to 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste 
  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 to 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Ham chopped, (optional)
  • 3 cups Rice (use any long grained rice)
  • 1 cup Tomato, seeded and chopped 
  • 3 1/2 cups Chicken stock or water(you can also use broth powder in warm
  • water)
  • 10 to 15 Green olives 
  • 1 cup Peas
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano (if you can't find fresh ones use bottled ones)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro/Coriander leaves chopped 


    Method :

    1) In the beginning let me tell you that in the ingredients list you might find salt and pepper mentioned twice, it is purposefully done, not by mistake. You would need salt and pepper two times in this dish.
    2) In a large bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the lemon or lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
    3) Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium flame. Add Olive Oil to the pan.
    4) Wash, clean and drain the chicken pieces and then pat the chicken pieces dry  between two kitchen towels and set aside.
    5) When the oil is sufficiently hot add chicken pieces in small batches and saute them to brown on all sides. Remove to a platter and set aside. Remember not to overcrowd the pan, then the chicken pieces will get braised before they get browned.
    6) Once all the chicken pieces are done, add a little more oil to the pot and add the onion, peppers, garlic and optional ham.
    7) Saute the onion, peppers, garlic and optional ham until the onion is translucent but not browned. While adding the ingredients, don't add everything together, just put one and fry for a couple of seconds and then add the second one.
    8) Now, stir in the rice and tomatoes and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
    9) Once the rice and tomatoes are properly mixed with onion mixture, add the stock or water, olives, peas, oregano, salt and pepper.
    10) Lay the browned chicken pieces over the top. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for about 30 minutes.
    11) Remove from heat and let rest, covered, 10 minutes.
    12) Toss all the ingredients gently with a fork, garnish with the chopped cilantro/Coriander leaves and serve.
    Arroz con Pollo Variations :
    1) When you are sauteing the onions, just add 1-2 tablespoons of paprika. This will bring a new dimension to your dish.
    2) Use a short-grain rice, like Valencia or Arborio, if you can find it.

    3) Substitute a little beer or white wine for some of the stock or water if you like.
     Fun Facts :Peruvians also enjoy a similar dish , Called Arroz Con Pato, that substitutes duck for the chicken.



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