Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice) is a favorite in our house so a big batch is a requirement. I’m going to use a very large braising pot for this recipe, if you don’t have one, a large Dutch oven works just fine. All you’ll need to do is to brown the chicken off in two batches.
The traditional Cuban dish is made with short-grain white rice like Arborio, I prefer long-grain white rice. Basmati rice is what I’m using today.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (10-quart) large braising pot, tongs, dry measuring cups, paring knife, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, chef’s knife
10 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed
1/2 cup of good olive oil
2 cup of frozen peas thawed
2 (8-ounce) bags of mini sweet peppers, tops removed, seeded, and sliced into rings
1 (15-ounce) bag of frozen peas, thawed
1 large Spanish onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of dry white wine, room temperature (Chardonnay)
1 small pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon of dried Mexican oregano (substitute dried oregano)
2 bay fresh leaves, substitute dried
2 tablespoons of ground Tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups of long-grain white rice, Basmati rice (rinsed really well, see my notes)
1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted, (substitute unsalted chicken broth)
1/4 cup of Cilantro, finely chopped
Begin by prepping the garlic, onions, and peppers, set aside.
Next, remove the skin from the chicken thighs and any extra fat, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet pan, set aside.
Add 1 cup of room temperature dry white wine to a measuring cup along with a pinch of saffron, give a whisk to combine, and set aside.
Season both sides of the chicken with Tumeric, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.
In a large heavy-bottom pot, add olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, arrange the chicken thighs in the pot smooth side down first. Do not touch or move the thighs for at least 4 to 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s time to flip them when they easily release, from the pot, on their own leaving no chicken stuck to the bottom. Flip the thighs and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
While the second side is browning, add the dried oregano into the palm of your hand, rub your palms together as you add the oregano evenly over the chicken. This process allows the Mexican oregano to release its oils and become fragrant. Don’t worry if the chicken is not completely cooked, they’ll finish cooking during the braising process. Go ahead and transfer the browned chicken thighs back onto the sheet pan, set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the diced onions, sweet peppers, and garlic, season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stirring frequently, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the wine/saffron mixture. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the bits of the bottom of the pot until clean. Continue stirring, cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
Return the chicken thighs back to the pot. Sprinkle the sweet paprika evenly over the top of all the chicken. Add the bay leaves, rice, and remaining chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (reduce heat to medium-low), cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, rice is cooked through and the chicken (internal temperature reads 165-degrees F.) is fall-off-the-bone tender.
Uncover, add the peas and garnish with finely chopped cilantro.
To Serve: Spoon in the rice mixture, first, into the bottom of a porcelain serving bowl, top with two chicken thighs, finish with a little more cilantro. Serve hot.
There you have it my Arroz con Pollo.
.Notes: Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water. Add the rice. Stirring occasionally, allow any starch from the rice to release into the water. Rinse a second time or until the water remains clear. This will ensure the rice won’t get clumpy in the finished dish.