Arroz Con Pollo

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Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and joy!  I know I did :]  One of my very favorite gifts was the Cook's Illustrated cookbook.  

Its HUGE. Full of 2,000 recipes.  And the best part?  It has been a process in the making for 20 years because they tested all of the recipes, making them virtually fool-proof and loaded with flavor.  That's my kind of cook book.  So, if you like to cook too, I strongly recommend this one. I received this gift Sunday night, I had to use it for dinner on Monday.

While on our honeymoon in Costa Rica, meal time was pretty predictable.  It didn't matter whether is was breakfast, lunch, or dinner, my husband almost always ordered arroz con pollo.  I don't blame him, because this typical Costa Rican dish is bomb.  I almost jumped for joy when I saw this recipe in my new cook book.  And Matt was pretty excited, too. 

6 medium cloves garlic minced or chopped 
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar plus 2 additional teaspoons
Ground black pepper
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed (I used a bit less)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine 
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
3 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup green olives (manzanilla), pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos, sliced

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a medium bowl, add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; stir to combine. 

Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. 

Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium). 

Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. 

Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add rice, olives, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/3 cup water. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer

Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and discard chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. 

Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. 

I love cilantro, so I added some extra on top.

This was so good, and Matt loved it, too :]  I was a little hesitant about a few of the ingredients, but it turned out great! Next time, I would do the recommended amount of chicken (3 1/2 - 4lbs) because I did about half that.  It makes a lot.  Good news for us, we have lots of left overs!

<3 Saleena

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