Friday, March 13, 2009

Arroz Con Pollo

Photo by Brianna Rohlehr

I was very happy with the big steaming pot of arroz con pollo that we surprised James with up in Hastings-on-Hudson last weekend. (Did I mention that we love the Rohlehrs?)

It's a tricky dish, and all kinds of things can go wrong with the timing. I read somewhere that parboiled rice was the key, and it worked out very well, but I'm quite certain I can get it to work with regular rice next time.

Happy Birthday, James!

4 strips of bacon
1 chorizo link, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
Salt, pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, pimenton, ground cumin, olive oil and white vinegar for marinating chicken
Olive oil for frying
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper), chopped
5 cloves garlic mashed
1 (12 oz.) bottle of dark beer
3 1/2 cups rich chicken stock
1 (8-ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Bijol or 1 tablespoon annatto oil (for coloring)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
3 1/2 cups of parboiled rice (or a slightly smaller quantity of regular long grain white rice)
1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips

Twelve to twenty-four hours ahead, combine the spices, oil and vinegar in a food processor or a mortar and process into a smooth paste. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and under the skin. Cover and keep refrigerated until about an hour prior to cooking. Let the chicken come to room temperature while prepping all the other ingredients.

Sauté the bacon and chorizo in a large frying pan. Reduce heat to low and let the fat render out -- about 10 minutes. Once the fat is released, remove the bacon and chorizo, increase temperature to medium-high and add the chicken to the hot bacon fat. Remove the chicken when it is browned on both sides.

Add a little olive oil to the same pan you fried the chicken in, and sauté the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent. Add the mashed garlic and cook an additional minute or two, stirring frequently.

Take the chicken stock and beer and pour into a large covered pot. Add the browned chicken pieces, cooked onions and green pepper, tomato sauce, Bijol, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper, bacon (crumbled, chorizo and olives. Bring everything to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes.

Add the rice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. When the rice has absorbed some of the liquid, cover and simmer on low for about 30-45 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked. Add the frozen peas and red pepper strips during the last five minutes of cooking.

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