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Arroz con Pollo

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Arroz con Pollo, or Chicken with Rice, is a classic dish beloved in many Latin American and Spanish households. This comforting and flavorful one-pot meal features tender chicken cooked with seasoned rice and a variety of vegetables, making it both hearty and nutritious. Arroz con Pollo is celebrated for its versatility and the ease with which it can be adapted to include different ingredients based on regional and personal preferences.

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lemon or lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Chicken:
    • Season the chicken thighs and drumsticks generously with salt and pepper.
    • Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
    • Add the chicken pieces to the pot, skin-side down, and sear until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  2. Cook the Vegetables:
    • In the same pot, add the chopped onion and bell peppers. Saut√© until softened, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the Rice and Spices:
    • Stir in the rice, ensuring it is well coated with the oil and vegetables.
    • Add the ground cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric (if using), dried oregano, and saffron threads. Stir to combine and toast the spices for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Incorporate the Liquid:
    • Pour in the can of diced tomatoes with their juices and the chicken broth.
    • Stir well to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Return the Chicken to the Pot:
    • Nestle the seared chicken pieces back into the pot, placing them on top of the rice and vegetable mixture.
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
  6. Add the Peas and Finish Cooking:
    • During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the frozen peas.
    • Cover and cook until the peas are heated through and the rice is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish and Serve:
    • Once cooked, remove the pot from heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes.
    • Sprinkle the chopped fresh cilantro over the top before serving.
    • Serve the Arroz con Pollo with lemon or lime wedges on the side for a burst of fresh citrus flavor.

Tips for Serving

  • Arroz con Pollo is a versatile dish that pairs well with a simple green salad or a side of black beans.
  • For a richer flavor, consider adding a splash of dry white wine to the pot along with the tomatoes and chicken broth.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Conclusion

Arroz con Pollo is a delightful and comforting dish that brings together the best of Latin American and Spanish culinary traditions. Its vibrant colors, aromatic spices, and tender chicken make it a favorite for family dinners and gatherings. With its simple preparation and delicious results, Arroz con Pollo is sure to become a staple in your kitchen, offering a taste of home with every bite. Enjoy this hearty, flavorful meal and the warmth it brings to your table.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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