Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Arroz con Pollo
Last week was a big week! Not only was it Valentine's Day, but it was also the Monkey Scientist's birthday. We celebrated with lots of delicious food! This was the start of the week - a romantic and easy-to-pull-together dinner. Nothing says romance like serious comfort food.
Of course, this dish was just a little bit selfish. The very short list of things that the Monkey Scientist won't eat includes olives. I get it - they're super salty and definitely an acquired taste. Dad despises them too. But, since the olives are still big, he was able to pick around him and he didn't mind at all. I liked the flavor they added to the dish, but it wasn't so strong that it ruined it for him.
I did let him add his own touches, though. Any time you see "salt and pepper" below, you can assume we added a good tablespoon of red pepper flakes as well. It wouldn't be a good dinner without a little bit of heat around here! I enjoyed this addition, and if you're a spice lover I recommend you make this addition as well.
As for difficulty, this really couldn't be easier to make. I was worried because the rice wasn't cooking after 30 minutes (it was still quite hard) but I just kept adding 1/2 - 1 cup of broth at a time, putting another 10 minutes on the clock, and eventually it cooked to perfection. When it was "done" there still appeared to be a little broth that wasn't absorbed, but once I stirred the rice up it soaked right in. Even though I was adding time on, the chicken was super moist - not a bit overcooked.
When it was finally done, it was super delicious. The rice was cooked perfectly - warm, tender, and loaded with flavor. The chicken was perfection. We don't usually eat thighs but for Valentine's Day this was a special treat and absolutely worth it. The Monkey Scientist said he thought it was delicious as well (especially because I managed to avoid getting any olives on his plate!). After we finished, we ate the bits of rice that had become crispy on the bottom of the pan. It was absolutely the best part! Valentine's Day might be over this year, but you can make this for your honey any day of the year!
Arroz con Pollo
from joy the baker
3/4 cup dry white wine
pinch of saffron threads (just a few strands is plenty)
4 chicken thighs (skin on)
salt and pepper for seasoning chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (mostly drained)
1 bay leaf
about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste) and 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 1/4 to 4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups white rice
scant 1 cup large green pimento olives, halved
1. Combine wine and saffron in a small bowl. The saffron will begin to breed yellow. Set aside.
2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
3. Place chicken pieces, skin side down, in the hot oil. Allow to crispy and fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the hot pan and place on a clean plate.
4. Add onions and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the partially drained can of tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and saffron wine. Allow to simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.
5. Add the rice to the pot. Add 2 1/4 c of the chicken broth and chicken pieces. Top with olives. Reduce the heat to low, place the lid on the pot, and allow to simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 30-50 minutes.*
* There are a few tricks… if you’re using a large pot, make sure that you move it around on the burner so that the simmer hits every part of the pan. Fifteen minutes in the center of the pot. Ten minutes on one side of the pot. Ten minutes on the other side of the pot. Sometimes pockets of rice can remain uncooked if the pan is too large. Also, don’t be afraid to add a touch more broth if your rice isn’t cooking up.
6. Check the rice after 30 minutes to make sure that it is cooking evenly. Add more broth, a cup at a time, if necessary. (I ended up using about 3 1/2 cups of water and cooking for around 50 minutes)
7. Once cooked, allow to rest for 10 minutes with the lid on. Serve warm.
Dish will last, in a container in the fridge, for up to 3 or 4 days.