Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Arroz con pollo (y chorizos)

blurry photo excuse: 3 little kittens clawing at their mama, hungry! meow meow meow.
(I even took a few pics, all blurry...where are my granny glasses?)

#1 son was ready for chicken. He even came bounding into the kitchen, "what's cooking?" when he had a whiff of the chicken browning in olive oil.

My maternal grandmother "Granma" made a tasty arroz Valenciana, chockfull of shellfish and spice which she served during her parties. I think sticky rice is too heavy and so when I heard about arroz con pollo from a friend from Puerto Rico I tried it out. It is made with parboiled rice which can withstand cooking at high heat without getting smooshy. Cumin is very strong in taste and fragrance so use sparingly, or omit entirely if you don't like it. Sazon con azafran is available in the Mexican/Spanish products aisles of most supermarkets and imparts flavor and color. It also contains saffron.
Arroz con pollo

olive oil
3 strips of thick cut bacon, or salt pork, chopped
1 packet Sazon con azafran (Goya) or 1/4 tsp. cumin and pinch of saffron
8 chicken drumsticks, or thighs, or your favorite cuts of chicken
2 cloves garlic
1 large white or Spanish onion,chopped
2 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 &1/2 cups parboiled rice (Uncle Ben's)
1 12-0z bottle of beer
1 &1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (omit beer and have a total of 3&1/2 cups of broth)
10 pcs. green olives stuffed with pimiento peppers(optional)
1 package of frozen vegetables (artichoke hearts, corn and peas etc.)
or 1 cup of chopped fresh zucchini, optional
2 pieces of chorizo sausages
1 shallot, finely chopped
cilantro leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Rub the chicken with half of the Sazon con azafran. Stir the other half into the broth.
In a deep skillet, heat the oil and brown the bacon over high heat. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove excess oil, leave about 2 tbsp.
Brown the chicken all over until no longer pink. Remove from heat, set aside.
Saute onion, garlic, peppers and tomatoes. Cook until onions soften.
Return the bacon to the pan, season with salt and pepper, then stir in parboiled rice. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and return chicken to the pan.
Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat about 25 minutes or until the rice absorbs the liquid. Stir once in a while to avoid rice sticking to the bottom.
When there is only a little liquid left add chorizos, olives if using, and vegetables.
Cook for a few minutes just to thaw frozen vegetables and cook zucchini slightly. Sprinkle chopped shallots on top.
When the liquid is all absorbed taste the rice to make sure it is tender; add more broth if needed.
Scatter the cilantro leaves on top and serve hot.

**I try to sneak in vegetables to this dish in the hope that some of them will stray and find their way into the kids' mouths...