Arroz con pollo — rice with chicken — is a traditional dish of Spain and Latin America. The ingredient list may seem long for this recipe from Epicurious.com, but the results are worth it, yielding moist and tender chicken and flavourful rice.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Use freshly squeezed orange and lime juice and butter that does not contain colour. Saffron may contain colour, so I substituted turmeric. Look for a white wine with no sulfites added, and canned tomatoes and chicken stock that are preservative-free, I used Unico tomatoes and Imagine stock. President’s Choice pimento-stuffed olives are additive-free, as are Unico pimientos.
Brown the chicken well and set aside
Saute onion and peppers
Bake chicken and rice until tender, then scatter peas, olives and pimientos on top
Arroz con Pollo
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) salt
¾ teaspoon (3 ml) black pepper
1 (3 ½ – to 4-lb/1.6 to 1.8 kg) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) unsalted butter
1 lb onions (454 g), chopped (2 ½ cups/675 ml)
2 green bell peppers, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) crumbled saffron threads
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 Turkish or ½ California bay leaf
1 (14- to 15-oz/414-444 ml) can diced tomatoes, including juice
1 ½ cups (375 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups (375 ml) water
2 cups (500 ml) long-grain white rice
1 cup (250 ml) frozen baby peas, not thawed
½ cup (125 ml) small or medium pimiento-stuffed green olives, rinsed
¼ cup (60 ml) drained chopped bottled pimientos, rinsed
Special equipment: a wide 6- to 7-qt (6-7 L) heavy pot (about 12 inches/30 cm in diameter and 4 inches/10 cm deep)
Purée garlic, orange juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Put chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour purée over them, turning to coat. Marinate chicken, covered and chilled, turning occasionally, 1 hour.
Transfer chicken, letting excess marinade drip back into bowl, to paper towels, then pat dry. Reserve marinade.
Heat oil and butter in 6- to 7-quart (6-7 L) pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken as browned to a plate, reserving fat in pot.
Prepare rice and bake arroz con pollo
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C)
Sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic in fat in pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits from chicken, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
While vegetables cook, heat saffron in a dry small skillet over low heat, shaking skillet, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
Add cumin and salt to vegetables and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in saffron mixture, bay leaf, tomatoes (including juice), broth, water, and reserved marinade and bring to a boil.
Add all chicken except breast pieces, skin sides up, and gently simmer, covered, over low heat 10 minutes. Stir in rice, then add breast pieces, skin sides up, and arrange chicken in 1 layer. Return to a simmer.
Cover pot tightly, then transfer to oven and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Scatter peas, olives, and pimientos over rice and chicken (do not stir) and let stand, pot covered with a kitchen towel, until peas are heated through and any remaining liquid is absorbed by rice, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and serve. Serves 4.