Ever since he watched a Food Network challenge months ago, my husband has been after me to try out a recipe for Arroz con Pollo – literally badgering me with constant hints, suggestions and outright demands.
“Why don’t we try out that chicken recipe tonight?”
“Tonight’s a good day for some of that Pollo stuff…”
And finally, “I’m making Arroz con Pollo tonight. You don’t have to do a thing. Just relax and I’ll take care of everything.”
The extremely unsettling thing is, every time hubby offers to try something new, my territorial instincts set in and I basically shoo him out – unable to accept or tolerate anyone’s presence in my kitchen. It’s not that he’s not allowed to cook; it’s just that when there’s a new recipe to try, I want to be the one to uncover its deliciousness, its flavour, and have bragging rights for introducing a new a dish to our repertoire.
(Of course, if it’s a flop, I sigh and say, “I KNEW this one wouldn’t turn out well. But since you wanted to try it so badly, you can take it for lunch for the next few days…”).
Thankfully, last night’s Arroz con Pollo wasn’t a flop – it was positively fabulous.
Arroz con Pollo, or “rice with chicken”, originated in the Andalusia region of Spain, but is also considered a traditional (and very popular) dish that can be found throughout Latin America. It is distinguished by its comprehensive list of ingredients ranging from vegetables to chicken to its basic carbohydrate, rice. Bonus: Arroz con Pollo is a one-dish meal!
This dish is downright yummy – spicy, flavourful rice combined with tangy, moist chicken, and topped off with bursts of fresh green peas. The prep + baking time was a little longer than expected (about half an hour for getting everything together, plus about an hour and the half in the oven – total 2 hours) but well worth it indeed. I’d say skip this on a weeknight and enjoy over the weekend with a glass of Sangre de Toro wine.
10-12 Maple Leaf Prime Naturally boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (or 1 teaspoon cumin)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup pimentos, drained
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained and sliced
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sear the chicken until golden, then set aside. Stir in the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice, and season with salt, pepper, and saffron (or cumin). Cook rice until golden, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, green chilies and chicken broth. Place chicken thighs on top, then bring to a boil, cover, and place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 1 hour, then sprinkle the peas, pimentos, and olives on top. Pour in the water, but do not stir. Recover and continue baking until the chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Serves 4-6.