Yes, I love chicken & rice. Pretty much any version... I'm a fan of it. But Arroz con Pollo is at the top of my fav list.
The second recipe for this week's menu that we choose from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible for Gutsy Cooks Club is for Arroz con Pollo. Every culture has it's version of chicken with rice, this recipe is a Spanish version which is the reason we choose it. Give us smoked paprika and saffron and we are interested.
When we go out for American style Mexican cuisine I usually order one of two dishes: tacos al carbon or arroz con pollo. Some restaurants make a tasty version. Some make an overly laden with cheese version. Most restaurants in our area also add mushrooms.
Over the past few years we've also made many takes on the dish and I decided to do a few adaptations to The Illustrated Kitchen Bible version to accommodate a few things we really liked in other versions:
A few changes we made:
- I used 1 fresh yellow pepper and 1 jarred roasted red pepper to replace the fresh red & green pepper. (yellow I had & I knew the roasted would add a bit more flavor.)
- After gathering fresh tomatoes upon further reading I noticed the recipe called for canned and I used fire roasted (just more flavor there.)
- I added chopped Spanish olives & golden raisins. This was from a Cuban version I made awhile ago that was great.
First I gathered some of my ingredients.
Lots of slicing of onions, chopping of peppers and garlic.
Have you tried jarred roasted red peppers? A pantry must in our book.
I brought in my fresh thyme plant to pluck a few branches (vines?).
I sliced my olives that added a little bit of a briny taste to balance the addition of the sweet golden raisins.
First the chicken thighs are browned and removed. Then the veggies are cooked until soft with the spices and peppers before the rice and broth are added.
Saffron is one of the last ingredients added.
We love saffron. Actually one of our favorite side dishes is to make jasmine rice in the rice cooker and add a tablespoon of butter with a pinch of saffron with the water. It turns yellow and fragrant, perfect easy side dish with salmon, halibut or chicken.
Once the rice absorbs some moisture
the chicken goes back into the pot and into the oven for 15 minutes. Then you add the peas and cook another 10 minutes.
While it was in the oven I made a quick side salad and opened a favorite everyday Chardonnay made by our "go to" Barnard &Griffin winery.
I was happy to see how moist the chicken looked when it came out of the oven.
We both really enjoyed this version of arroz con pollo. The chicken thighs were incredibly moist and flavorful.
The addition of the roasted flavors with the olives and golden raisins really created just the right amount of balanced flavors.
We both highly recommend this recipe. Which is a good thing because I'm sure we'll be eating it the rest of the week. It made A LOT. Yum!