Monday, December 5, 2011

Arroz Con Pollo

Last week a friend had mentioned how she made a rice and chicken dish for dinner.That reminded me of a Salsa Chicken and Rice dish I used to make before having Bambino. It was a spice packet where you mix it with water and then add it to chicken and rice and then put it in the oven. I wanted to make the dish again, but with fresh ingredients. I went looking online for a recipe for salsa chicken and rice and everything basically said to just throw in a jar of salsa. No no no! I wanted to try a dish with fresh ingredients and spices! I suppose I could have made the traditional biryani, but that would take making chicken curry and then making the biryani the next day and I didn't want to do that much work. So then I thought of arroz con pollo! The direct translation of the dish and is rice with chicken so I figured that should be somewhat easy to make, maybe?

So I looked up recipes for arroz con pollo and found that it wasn't too difficult. Now, the dish probably wasn't too authentic, but it did taste very similar to the salsa chicken and rice dish I used to make, which was what I was aiming for! I really enjoyed the dish as did Hubby and Bambino. What a rarity, all three of us thoroughly enjoyed the same dish! I ate more rice and left the chicken pieces for Hubby and Bambino, but from what of the chicken I tried, it was great!

I decided to make this dish in the pressure cooker. I recently tried making Masala Bhat (Indian Vegetable Rice) in the pressure cooker and it came out so good, so I decided to do the same with this dish. Making rice in general can be tricky, but when you add in vegetables (which release it's own water) things can go awry and you can end up with mushy rice or undercooked rice. Luckily, the pressure cooker worked well for me. Now, I realize that most people don't own a pressure cooker (which I highly recommend you get!) so you can also just bring the rice to a boil and simmer, as stated in the original recipe.

Oh! And I did use 4 tomatoes in this dish, but Hubby didn't even notice because they cooked down so much that you could barely see the shriveled pieces of skin and the rice absorbed the tomatoes. I didn't even tell him it was in there, and he didn't notice. Heheh.

Click here or the original recipe.

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cubed.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups water
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
juice of one lime

1. Marinade chicken with 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place in fridge overnight.

2. Heat vegetable oil in pressure cooker or dutch oven over medium-high heat and saute chicken until browned on all sides. Squeeze with with lime juice and take out of pot and place to side.

3. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper to pot and saute until softened. Add in oregano, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper.

4. Add in rice, tomatoes, peas, chicken and water. If using pressure cooker place cover, bring to steam and then simmer for twenty minutes. If using dutch oven, Bring to a boil and then place top and simmer until rice is cooked through. (I can't give you an exact time, so after about 10 minutes take a peak and see if water is absorbed.)

5. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes and serve.

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 5
The actual work of this dish is probably only a 3, but since rice can be so tricky to work with I upped the score. You really have to play around with the dish. If you find that the rice is a little raw then add in about 1/8 a cup of water, bring it to a boil and then cover and simmer. If  your rice came out too mushy, sorry but there's no salvaging it. Don't feel bad though, it's happened to me time and time again.

Overall, we all really loved this dish and definitely plan to put it into heavy rotation!

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