Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arroz con Pollo

Seriously, who doesn't appreciate one-pot meals? Even in my attempts to feed the kids dinners that aren't typically labeled as 'kid food' I'm genuinely not looking to make my life harder. Though, I'm quite sure that my husband believes otherwise. Anytime I come across a dish with protein, vegetables & carbs all together I think "Whoo hoo!" Even though it's a rice dish, it is sticky enough for young Charlotte to practice using silverware without too much frustration. But, the best part about making a one-pot meal, even better than the reduction in dishes to be done that night, is the fact that this makes lots of leftover, which means far fewer dishes for at least two to three more nights!

When America's Test Kitchen said this dish gets thumbs up, I was on board. Despite their claim of always having the most perfect recipe (technique is always impeccable, if not a huge pain,) the base recipe for this dish is very much boiler plate, and I felt compelled to poke around and see what others had included in their versions. I came across one which advised me to use beer and capers - two more thumbs up. Further inspiration came from my favorite grocery store, which is amazingly only 1.0 miles from our house. A fact which makes me smile every time I think about it. When I saw piquillo peppers (a store brand, no less! I could hardly believe it either!) I knew they would find their way into my version too. I've never bought them before - heck I don't think I've ever eaten them before - but I was excited after seeing them make many appearances on Iron Chef America.

I must say, humbly, the house smelled amazing while this was cooking. And the taste? Well, let's just say that Charlotte used this inspiration to string together four words as she declared "yummy chickens! more please!" Cuteness!

Arroz con Pollo

Pollo (chicken)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or mashed
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper
4-5 chicken thighs (with bone & skin)
3-4 chicken breasts (with bone & skin)

Arroz (Rice)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon pimenton (or regular paprika)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 bay leaf
1 pound chopped tomatoes
1 12 oz bottle beer
1 1/2 C chicken broth
2 C long grain white rice
1/2 C manzanilla (green olives) with pimento, halved
1/4 C capers
1/2 C piquillo peppers, roughly chopped

1. Combine ingredients for marinade, then add chicken pieces to coat. I'd prefer to use all thighs, but some folks in this house prefer white meat, so I use both for this recipe. Set aside (in the fridge) for half an hour or so.

2. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and green pepper and cook until softened. Move veggies to the side, increase heat to medium-high and add chicken in a single layer on the bottom.  Let cook, undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, then flip and leave for another 3-4 minutes. (I needed to do this in two batches because my pot is not wide enough.) Remove all chicken from pot.

3. Add pimenton, oregano, cumin and rice to the pot. Stir to combine so spices coat rice and vegetables. Add tomatoes, manzanillas, capers, piquillo peppers, beer and chicken broth. Return chicken to the pot and try to ensure it is covered by liquid. Add bay leaf, cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low.

4. After 20 minutes or so, remove chicken from the pot, (and the bay leaf if you can find it, if not don't forget to pull it out later.) If rice is too dry or sticky, add additional 1/4 C broth. Replace lid. Remove the skin from chicken, and remove chicken from bone by using two spoons to pull it apart into large, bite-sized pieces.

5. Return chicken to the pot and gently mix everything together. If rice is tender, turn off heat and let sit for five minutes before serving.

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