Monday, November 17, 2008
Arroz con Pollo
Only serendipity can explain how this treasure made it from Latin America to my permanent recipe roster. About a decade ago I was asked to participate in a cooking demonstration for folks receiving food stamps. The dish, obviously, had to be inexpensive and easy to prepare, but I also wanted to come up with something that fell outside the pale of the usual "101 Ways to Cook" recipes. I was thumbing through an unfamiliar magazine looking for inspiration when I stumbled on this recipe by Sarah Jay. It is a no longer buried treasure, and that unfamiliar magazine went on to become a must read --- Fine Cooking. I've served this dish to friends and family for years now, and chances are if you've eaten at my table you've had this at least once. One caution - be sure to remove the skin from the chicken. While the bones help define the shape of chicken pieces, exposure to steam and stock will cause the skin to become limp and unappealing. Arroz con Pollo stole the show at the demonstration and it has remained a favorite of mine. All the ingredients are readily available and it is still inexpensive to prepare. I know you'll like this one. It's great family fare.
Arroz con Pollo
2 tablespoons olive oil; more as needed
6 - 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, liberally seasoned with salt and
pepper, then lightly dredged in flour
1/2 to 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika(optional)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup peeled, fresh or canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine or beer (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 cups medium-grain rice
2-1/4 cups chicken stock or water
1) Saute chicken in a large (12-inch) skillet until golden on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter.
2) Saute sausage until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer sausage to platter. Pour off and discard excess oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in pan.
3) Saute onion, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Return chicken and sausage to pan; add cumin, paprika (if using), chili powder, and turmeric, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to distribute spices. Add tomatoes, wine (if using), and bay leaf and cook for another 2 minutes.
4) Add rice and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the rice is done and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Lightly toss mixture; let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.