When I was in college, we used to go to a dive Mexican restaurant to drink giant margaritas. Along with those margaritas I would often order Arroz con Pollo. I have to say, my memory of that dish might be a little hazy, but I think my version is way better. And I'm not just saying that because due to some timing issues and a baby who needed a bath and to be put to bed, I didn't eat dinner last night until almost 9 and inhaled my bowl. That is late for someone who is usually starving by 7. Also, I sometimes eat lunch at 11 in the morning and today it involved ants on a log. I'm either 8 or 88. But I digress.
Arroz con Pollo
inspired by Eat Live Run
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts , sliced in half lengthwise to form thin filets (you can use any cut of chicken here)
1-2 onions, chopped
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
28 oz. can of crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cups rice (I used brown)
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 cup peas
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large oven-proof pot (an enameled cast iron dutch oven is perfect), heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Sear the chicken breasts by cooking a couple minutes on each side. You don't need to fully cook them here, they'll bake in the final dish.
Remove chicken breasts to a plate and lower the heat on the pot to medium.
Saute the onion and green pepper for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute.
Stir in the spices (cumin through pepper).
Pour in the tomatoes and three cups of the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, and stir in the rice.
Turn off the heat, return the chicken to the pot and cover.
Put the covered pot into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Check the liquid level to make sure there is enough to cook the rice. Add more broth or water if necessary.
Cook until the rice is done and the chicken is cooked through and shreddable. Spell check is saying shreddable isn't a word. That won't stop me.
Stir in the peas and olives and serve with hot sauce. And maybe have a giant margarita for me.
My cooking snafu with this dish, and part of the reason we didn't eat until late, was that I forgot to bring the liquids to a boil before adding the rice and sticking it in the oven. This meant that the rice took forever to cook. We ultimately removed the chicken and finished the rice and sauce on the stove before adding everything back in, so make sure you don't skip that step!