Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

My cousin Joanne has been sending me a ton of recipes this week, which I am supposed to be typing so future generations can enjoy some of our family favorites.   Jo and I are taking the most amazing trip down aromatic memory lane.  I can't wait to see her in a few weeks.  Her brother Joe and I drool over Williams-Sonoma catalogs together...  I need to move to Florida!

She sent me a copy of the Arroz con Pollo that her mother used to make.  She got the recipe from her sister's housekeeper who was of Spanish descent.  I typed the recipe but some of the proportions were missing, so I did a little research and decided to make some changes to the recipe.  I will put both recipes at the bottom of this post.  It was absolutely wonderful! It does take a little while to prep and cook but well worth the time...

All the cousins with our cousin Ann in Florida - she will  me missed
Front row L-R: Elise, Anne, Joanne, Sophia and Rick
Back Ror L-R: David, Abby, Lauren, Carl, Joe, Marc
There is no excuse not to make this dish, - it's like coloring by number - just follow the pictures

Arroz con Pollo – Elise’s Changes
From Anne Silvestri’s sister Marie’s Spanish housekeeper

4-5 pound chicken, cut in pieces (I used a package of legs and 4 pounds of breasts with bones
Garlic salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin (sprinkle over the chicken)
4-5 slices of bacon -  cut in half
2-4 tablespoons olive oil - divided
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large green pepper, finely diced
1 (8 oz can) tomato sauce
1 (14 ounce can) stewed tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) jar of pimentos, rough chopped
1 (5.75 ounce) jar green olives, drained (you can use a larger jar if you prefer) cut olives in half
3 large onions, peeled and diced
3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon Chicken, divided
1 (48 ounce can or box of chicken stock or broth plus  (1 14 ounce can) divided into 5 cups, and whatever is left in the can (about 6 ounces)
½  - 1 cup white wine
2 cups white rice (I used Carolina Long Grain, you can use Arborio if you have it)
1 cup frozen baby peas

Do all your prep work ahead, wash your peppers, cut the onions, cut the bacon, cut the olives, etc. Open up all your cans, measure out all your liquids, cut, wash and dry your chicken. Place 5 cups of stock into a saucepan and midway through the preparation of the chicken bring it to a boil.  Place the pieces of chicken on a large sheet of aluminum foil and season them with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and cumin to taste.  Turn the pieces over and season the other side.  Set a little bit of the bacon, olives, and pimentos aside for a garnish.

In a large Dutch oven (7 quart) or large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the pieces of bacon, and fry until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot, and set aside.  Add the chicken (don’t crowd the pieces, cook in more than one batch if necessary) to the olive oil/bacon fat, and sauté until nicely browned about 10 minutes; turn the pieces over and brown for another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a dish and set aside.  Repeat with any remaining chicken.

Add 1 heaping teaspoon of Better than Bouillon to the saucepan, and add the remaining 6 ounces of broth from the small can to the pot.  Stir to deglaze the pan. Add the onions, peppers, garlic, and sauté until golden and soft about 15 minutes. Season with a little additional garlic, salt and black pepper. I added another tablespoon of olive oil at this point. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, wine, rice, pimentos, olives, peas, and bacon, and stir until well blended.  Add the chicken back to the pot and pour the stock that has been brought to a boil over the chicken. Stir.  Cover the pot and let simmer on a medium-low heat for about an hour and a half. Stir often, making sure to get down to the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t stick.  

Cook for about 1½, tasting every 30 minutes to check to see if the rice is done.  When it is not longer hard and most of the liquid is absorbed, the dish is finish.  Place in a large serving platter and garnish with the pimento, olives and bacon you set aside earlier. 

This is what you will need for the recipe:

You can buy a whole chicken and cut it up if you prefer, I bought a package of legs and breasts

Now, let's get all the prep work started

Peel the onions, leaving the stem end intact - this will make it easier to dice

Slice the onion down toward the stem but do not cut all the way through

Then, turn it and slice in the opposite direction

When you are finished cut the criss-crossed onion down in slices and voila,

 you have a diced onion - 

don't bother cutting all the way to the end, just throw it away... makes great compost!

Okay, I'll wait while you go get some tissues and wipe your eyes...

Long enough, there is no crying in cooking, let's get moving we have a lot to prep here...

Peel your garlic

Crush it with a garlic crusher, or slam it with a knife, hit it with a hammer, whatever you need to do to get it crushed is fine with me

It should look like this

Wash your green peppers, you can use red if you have them, or both, or yellow or orange, whatever color you like...  I am holding two because they were small and in the refrigerator and were going to go bad if I didn't use them.  This is the beauty of cooking, you can change whatever you want to. Baking is a science, cooking is an art - My quote if you decide to steal it, please!

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds

Slice them in thin strips

I  missed a seed, see, I'm not perfect - close but not perfect...
Place then on top of one another - as many as you can comfortable handle, and dice them, and set them aside

Oh my God, I am getting old, I have wrinkles in my fingers :(
My husband (the gynecologist) says you can always tell a woman age by her hands - I am an old broad!

Open the pimentos

Drain those babies...

Place on a cutting board, give them a rough chop, and set them aside

They don't have to be perfect (like me) - just smaller (like I wish I was)

Open the olives

Drain those delicious green things, and don't eat them all before they make it to the dish

Cut them in half, I do this so you get an olive in every bite.  Lazy??? Leave them whole - who cares - add two jars, whatever you want!  Looks so Christmasy - too bad it's Lent and I'm Jewish - go figure...
I was however, born an Italian Catholic so I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want...

Measure out your broth (put five cups into a small saucepan and leave the rest in the little can)
and the wine too - I forgot the picture

Midway through the preparation of the chicken (about when you add the vegetable to the pot, bring this to a low boil)

Open your cans

Now aren't you glad you did all the prep work and can cook with ease

Place a large piece of aluminum foil on the counter (easy clean-up and less work for mother)

Wash (and cut, if necessary) your chickens, but don't go crazy, this is 2011 and they are pretty clean right out of the package - old habits die hard...even Purdue has a stray feather every now and then

Dry the chicken with a paper towel

Season with pepper - don't you just love my peppermill

Season the chicken with salt (just a little because everything in here is salty, olives, bouillon)

Of course, I season everything with garlic salt, so sprinkle a little of that too

Last, sprinkle on a little cumin - I must confess, not my favorite spice, but necessary for this dish - I went sparingly, but do your own thing...

Turn those babies over to the naked side and repeat again

Don't they already look delicious - and no you cannot taste the raw chicken - 

Don't forget to WASH your hands, and scrub down your work area well...
We are almost done with all the prepping - one last thing left to do
Cut the bacon in half - I use center cut, use what you like

Place a large Dutch Oven (7 quart) on the stove over medium heat - what's with this picture, it's red???

Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil

When the oil is hot, add the bacon

Fry until crisp

Remove and set aside - do not eat the whole dish (maybe just a tiny taste!)

When it cools, crumble it (yes, with your fingers)

Now would be a good time to set aside a little of everything for the garnish too

And being motivated as I seemed to be today, I had mixed up a batch of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes this morning, and it was sitting on the pizza peel rising

Add the chicken to the hot oil.  Don't crowd the pieces, do in a few batches if necessary

Fry until nicely brown (about 10 minutes) - Turn and repeat with the other side

Remove and place on a platter or large dish

Do the next batch the same way

If you are using legs, they may take a little longer on each side

Can you smell the bread - it just came out of the oven - heaven warm bread and butter

At the end, you will be left with tons of brown deliciousness on the bottom of your pot - this is what will make it taste so good - I have to tell this, this is a Martha Stewart Cast Iron pot that I got (stole) on sale at Macy's, but that's another story for another day, and it's amazing.  It cleans up like a dream.  I know you are looking at the bottom of that pot and shaking your head, but don't worry, clean-up is a breeze!

Put in 1 teaspoon of the Better than Bouillon (I added tablespoons, but it may be too salty for some, so I am amending the recipe to teaspoons - I you like salt, have at it!)

Stir to help deglaze the pot

Add whatever is left in the little can of chicken broth about 6 ounces

Add your onions


and garlic to the pot

Stir it well

I seasoned it with a little garlic salt - what else is new?????

 black pepper - I always find that peppers and onions need to have some added flavoring

and just a little drizzle of additional olive oil - maybe a tablespoon 

Cook until the vegetables are soft about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add in the tomato sauce

Stewed tomatoes


Make sure your soup is hot

Rice -I use a small bag of Carolina long grain, it's exactly two cups :)





Give it a good stir to blend well

Add the chicken back to the pot

Add the broth that has been at a low boil

Stir again

Cover and let it cook on a low-medium simmer - stir frequently, MAKING SURE YOU GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POT, or the rice will stick and burn. See, I told you the pot was red - goes with absolutely nothing in my kitchen but it was on sale!

Set the timer for 45 minutes, but stir in between - go to the bottom, make sure you listen to me!


and stir some more (at about 30  minutes)

At 45 minutes

1 hour

1 hour and 20 minutes - notice how creamy the rice is

Plate and serve that with the delicious bread - Yummmmmmmm

Here is a copy of the original recipe - my cousin Joanne says her mother boiled the rice separately, and she uses orzo instead of rice.  I am a one pot girl, less work and it turns out the same way (I think). I am going to try the orzo the next time, and cook it in with the chicken.

Arroz con Pollo
From Anne Silvestri’s sister Marie’s Spanish housekeeper

4-pound chicken, cut in pieces
5-6 tablespoons olive oil - divided
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 jar of pimentos
1 jar green olives, drained
3 large onions, peeled and diced
Chicken bouillon or chicken stock divided
¼ - ½ cup white wine
2 cups white rice
Heat about 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven or frying pan. Brown the chicken. Remove the chicken.  Mince the onion, and small pieces of garlic, sauté until golden. Add 2-3 Tablespoons chicken bouillon or 1 cup stock stock; cover until brown scrapings are melted. Replace chicken, add the wine and cover and cook very slowly ½ hour. In a separate saucepan dissolve 6 cubes of chicken bouillon and 5 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and add 2 cups of rice – cook 20 minutes. Add green stuffed olives and sliced pimentos, cook about 10 more minutes.

Joanne uses orzo. She melts 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a pan and then toss in the orzo for a minute or two before adding the bouillon.

Bookmark and Share

Arroz Con Pollo