Arroz con Pollo

>> Thursday, March 1, 2012

While Arroz con Pollo simply means chicken with rice, this dish is much, much more than that.  This is a wonderful, comforting and hearty dish that helps me fill the comfort food category in my new dairy free cooking adventures.

What really elevates this Arroz con Pollo recipe is the added step of roasting your own tomatoes, which adds a wonderful sweetness that you simply can't replicate by only using canned tomatoes.  Seriously, a perfect bite from this dish is a piece of tender chicken, fluffy rice, sweet tomatoes that burst in your mouth, salty olive slices and the bright fresh flavor of cilantro.  Yummy to my tummy!

This recipe makes A LOT of food, so I'd suggest inviting friends over for dinner or be prepared to eat the leftovers for a few days...which is not a bad thing!

Arroz con Pollo
adapted slightly from Eat, Live, Run

for the marinade
1 orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 Meyer lemon, juiced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 4-lb whole chicken, cut into pieces

for the dish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 white onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons roasted cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 14.5-oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 2/3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups white rice, uncooked
1/2 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
1/2 cup Spanish pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
hot sauce (optional)

For the marinade: In a large ziplock bag, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add chicken pieces.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, flipping bag over once.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Spread cherry or grape tomatoes on the cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Roast tomatoes for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are slightly charred and have started to burst.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

After the chicken is finished marinating, remove chicken from the bag and discard marinade.  Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil over high heat in a heavy 5 1/2 quart ovenproof pot.  Once the oil is hot, add half the chicken pieces and brown on both sides.  (Just brown the chicken, don't cook it through!)  Remove chicken pieces, and brown the rest of the pieces.  Set chicken aside.

In the same pot, add onions, bell pepper and garlic to the hot oil, scraping up any browned bit left from the chicken (flava flav!).  Saute veggies for about 5 minutes.

Add cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper and crushed saffron to the veggies and mix well.  Add roasted cherry tomatoes and diced tomatoes (with their liquid) and mix.  Add bay leaf.  Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add rice, stirring well to combine.

Lay chicken pieces in the pot, cover with lid, and place in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.  Stir in the peas and olives.  Cover with lid and let rest for 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf.  Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot sauce on the side.

serves 6-8


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