Nowadays, I have been craving comfort food. Comfort food for me as a Filipina and Asian often involves rice. I do not even eat rice every day or at every meal unlike most traditional Asians and Filipinos. (When Shelter In Place Order was declared, while most people were panic buying for toilet paper, my siblings looked to stock up on rice!) I have a small jar of rice at home which will probably last me over a couple of months.
I was also in search of chicken dishes to encourage Mr Sweetie to eat less red meat being the big carnivore that he is. And I came across quite a few recipes of Arroz Con Pollo on the internet. Arroz Con Pollo (Rice With Chicken) appealed to me because it is a one pot dish. It seemed simple enough to make and it is a rice dish, i.e., comfort food!
I was so excited to make Arroz Con Pollo and it was a win for Mr Sweetie! He liked how the chicken was moist while the rice was full of flavors. This dish is definitely a keeper and I will make it again!
Another reason that makes this dish a winner is because you probably already have the ingredients in your fridge and pantry. (If you do not have the spices yet, get them! Paprika, cumin, etc will liven up your next dish!) I would even say that you can probably make this without chicken or meat, or maybe make it with seafood instead. (Hmmm, now I will try to make Arroz Con Camarones or Rice With Shrimp next time!)
I also read that people all over Latin America have different versions of Arroz Con Pollo. It is quite a versatile dish and adaptable according to one’s taste, I believe. What I did was create my own version as inspired by multiple recipes that I found across the internet. This was how I made mine:
- 2 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs (or drumsticks or both)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red or green pepper, diced (I used pasilla peppers because that was what I had and it worked!)
- 4 tomatoes, seeded and quartered
- 1 TBSP cumin powder
- 1 TSP garlic powder
- 1/2 TSP turmeric powder
- 1/2 TSP paprika
- 1/8 TSP cayenne pepper
- 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 3/4 cups Calrose rice (or you can substitute other medium-grain or long-grain rice but you will need to adjust the liquid.)
- 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Green onions for garnish (optional)
- Lemons, sliced for garnish or to squeeze (optional)
- Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and black pepper.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Cook chicken on both sides until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Using the same oil and fat from the chicken, saute onions and red bell peppers, and cook for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft then add the tomato slices until soft as well, about 4 minutes.
- Add spices next — garlic powder, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Mix everything together.
- Add rice. Combine with the vegetables and spices to toast for about 45 seconds.
- Put the chicken pieces and juices over the rice mixture.
- Pour chicken stock to cover the rice, about 2 1/2 cups, just enough to cover the rice. Cover the pot, bring the mixture to a quick boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Make sure to not burn the rice! NOTE: I started with 2 1/2 cups of broth. When the rice started to cook but looked slightly dry, I added another cup of broth resulting in moist rice but not mushy. Just perfect! Depending on the type of rice you use, eyeball the rice every 15 minutes and add broth, 1/2 cup at a time.
- Turn off the heat and add a cup of frozen peas on top of the rice. Cover once again, and allow to sit for an additional 5 minutes until the peas are warm. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with sliced lemon. Serve immediately. Squeeze lemon on the rice, if desired.