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Arroz Con Pollo


The flavors of savory chicken, cumin and vegetables deeply buried in soft comforting rice. It is the warm embrace of a Cuban mom all in one big pot.

Serve it with a plate of avocado wedges, ripe juicy tomatoes, slivers of red onions and a sprinkle of salt and lime.

And if you make enough for leftovers you can transform the dish with a few spices, into an Indian flavored rice dish tomorrow. 

You need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
4 skinless chicken drumsticks
2 medium onions chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 red bell pepper de seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, including juice
3 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 cup wine (or stock)
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups white rice
1 cup frozen defrosted or freshly shucked peas

Toasted pumpkin seeds
Sour cream or greek yoghurt
Green pimento olives

To make 6 servings:

Heat the oil in a large casserole. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with a bit of salt and brown them, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

To the casserole add the onion and bell pepper, and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add cumin, garlic and oregano and stir for a moment until fragrant. Now add the chopped tomatoes, and return the chicken to the casserole, stir well to coat the chicken with the tomato mixture. 

Add the stock, wine, spices and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. If it starts to dry out and the rice is still not quite done, add more broth. If it is too soupy, uncover during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Just before it is done, stir in the peas. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, olives and cilantro. 

Leftover tip:

Today arroz con pollo, tomorrow chicken biryani:

In a pot heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom, heat whole cumin seeds, grated ginger, a pinch of cinnamon and some curry powder until fragrant, this will take less than 1 minute. Add the leftover rice and gently reheat. Serve with raita and mango chutney. Don’t call it leftovers, call it Indian rice biryani.


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