Arroz con Pollo

Every culture seems to have its own variation on a chicken and rice dish. The Spanish have paella, Indians have biriyani and there is the ever popular chicken and rice casserole with condensed soup and cheese that Americans enjoy (not a fan of that, by the way). I realize this recipe is not authentic to Latin American cooking because it lacks the classic yellow color from achiote seeds but it is still a delicious variation.

I discovered this recipe one afternoon while scouring my cookbooks for anything that would inspire me for what to prepare for dinner (ever had one of those days?). I quickly scanned the recipe and realized I had all the ingredients on hand. This has become one of my favorite go-to meals ever since.

Arroz con Pollo
Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 skinless chicken-breast halves, bone in, each half cut into 3 pieces
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
fresh cilantro, for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the rice in a medium bowl, and cover with 2 inches of hot water. Let the rice soak for 10 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain. Rinse with cold water; set aside.
  • Place the canned tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a blender. On high speed, blend the mixture until pureed, about 30 seconds. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano with the cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub each piece of chicken with the mixture, and set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet. Cook the chicken in two batches over medium-high heat until browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot before browning second batch. Transfer all the chicken to a bowl, and set aside. Add the reserved rice to the pot, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the rice becomes slightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the jalapeno, and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato puree, and cook, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add stock, peas, cherry tomatoes, and chicken; bring to a simmer over high heat.
  • Cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 35 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, and serve warm.
  • Notes: I’ve used boneless, skinless chicken thighs with good results and I also omitted the cherry tomatoes. I served this along a tomato, avacado and lettuce salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. You could also serve cooked black beans for added fiber.

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