Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

Servings : Serves 4-6

This is a traditional Spanish/Latin American dish consisting mainly of rice (Arroz) with chicken (Pollo). It is a perfect 'one pot meal', meaning that the chicken, rice, and vegetables are all cooked together in a single pot, resulting in a flavourful dish with minimum effort.

Ingredients for Chicken Marinade

  • 1 chicken, cut up into 8 pieces (I prefer without the skin)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder

Ingredients for Sofrito

  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 green bell pepper/capsicum, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander, with stems
  • salt and pepper to taste

Other Ingredients

  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, crushed and soaked in warm water
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup sofrito
  • 3 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • fresh coriander for garnishing

Instructions

First, mix the marinade ingredients and then rub them over the chicken pieces and set aside to marinate for at least an hour or refrigerate for up to overnight.

Then prepare the sofrito. Sofrito is a simple yet flavourful sauce used as a base in lots of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cooking. Put all the sofrito ingredients in a processor or blender and blend until combined. Set aside.

Wash and then soak the rice for about 20 minutes.

In a large pan, add about 2 tbsp oil and heat it up. Add the chicken into the hot pan and fry on high heat for about 10 minutes (4-5 minutes per side) or until nicely browned. We are only looking to brown the outside of the chicken, not to cook it through. You can do this in two batches to avoid crowding the pan. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add another 2 tbsp oil. Once heated, add the cumin seeds and bay leaf, then allow the cumin seeds to splutter before adding the onions. Fry until they soften, then add the peppers, ginger and garlic. Stir for a few more seconds and then add half a cup of the prepared sofrito. Mix together for a couple of minutes and add the pre-soaked drained rice and the soaked saffron and gently stir it to infuse all the vibrant colour and flavour into the grains.

I normally use 1 and a quarter cups of stock/liquid per cup of rice. If your brand of rice usually needs more liquid, please adjust amount accordingly.

Next, add the chicken and the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a simmer. Give everything an occasional stir, and then taste for salt. Adjust if needed. Once the liquid has reduced add the peas and stir them in. Cover with a tight lid and reduce the heat to its lowest point. Allow to steam for about 10-15 minutes.

Open and gently fluff up the rice. Serve with garnish of some freshly chopped coriander.

Enjoy!  🙂

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