A while back I had a recipe for arroz con pollo on the blog, and when I went to look it up the other day, it was gone. Gone, vanished, as in totally disappeared. What the…? Well, there was nothing to do for it but create a re-do. It makes me very nervous that an entire post could just evaporate like that. What other devious deeds are happening on the blog when I’m not looking?!
Arroz con pollo is a staple around here. I’ve been making this for so long that I don’t even remember where I got the recipe, but I can almost make it from memory anymore. It’s one of those dishes that you just return to over and over because it just seems to be the perfect balance between satisfying/light/good for you/tasty.
As with most iconic recipes, there are a bazillion versions and no one “correct” recipe. I have been known to add chorizo when the mood hits me, but it really doesn’t need it; the flavors that develop from the saffron, paprika, vegetables and aromatics are perfect on their own.
I always serve it with homemade tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole, but that part is up to you. You could also add chopped jalapenos or crushed red pepper if you want more heat. But if you decide to try this, I suggest you tuck the recipe in a safe place; it has been known to disappear when you’re not looking.
Arroz con Pollo
1 ½ to 2 lbs. Chicken tenders
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper cut into ½ in. pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp paprika (smoked sweet paprika is good here)
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 ¼ cups white wine
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes including juice
1 ¾ cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp crumbled saffron threads
bay leaf (not California)
1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)
½ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced in half
Queso Fresco Cheese*, crumbled
1 Avocado, sliced
Fresh cilantro chopped for garnish
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-in heavy skillet (at least 2 inches deep) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken briefly on both sides. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the chicken continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate. Cut into chunks and keep warm.
Add onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, garlic, paprika, and rice, then cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil, uncovered, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, saffron, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered over medium low heat until rice is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in chicken, peas and olives. Cover skillet and let sit at least 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Taste for salt and pepper.
To serve, sprinkle with queso fresco cheese, sliced avocado and chopped cilantro. Serve with tortillas or tortilla chips.
*If you can't find queso fresco, crumbled feta cheese will work just fine.