There are many versions of this delight from Spain. Almost every different culture in Latin America and the Caribbean has their own version of Arroz Con Pollo. However, this is the one I discovered while studying abroad in Madrid, which would be the original version from which all others are derived. Even the cooking Bible of culinary art Larousse Gastronomique refers to this dish as Castilian Chicken.
Please note that although the Arroz Con Pollo in Spain will use different cuts of chicken that I use. Why? Because I’m completely grossed out by eating meat with bones in it.
And So It Begins
Start by steeping the flavorful spices in the broth. You don’t boil this mixture. Put it on your lowest setting in an uncovered pot for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3 ½ Cups of Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon of Saffron threads*
1 ½ Teaspoons of Chicken Bouillon Powder
½ Teaspoon of Turmeric
*I usually do not measure this ingredient. I buy the McCormick Saffron threads and use half. Therefore, I get to make this dish twice from one bottle. Prices vary drastically. I’ve seen it at Walmart for $17.69 while the base commissary has the exact product for $9.49.
Next You’ll Need to Prepare the Flour for Dredging the Chicken
2 large boneless and skinned chicken breasts (cut each breast into 3 pieces)
1 cup of flour
1 ½ Tablespoons of Paprika
1 Teaspoon of salt
½ Teaspoon black pepper
Dredge the chicken pieces and shake off excess.
Get Those Veggies Prepped
1 Large White Onion (Medium Dice…the link will show you how to properly dice an onion)
1 Small Diced Red Bell Pepper
1 Small Diced Green Bell Pepper
1 4 oz. Jar of Pimiento (Drained)
*Option…1 Cup of Green Olives with Pimiento
Don’t Forget the Chorizo Sausage
6 Goya Spanish Chorizo Sausages (Skinned and sliced ¼ inch thick)
There are many incarnations of the Chorizo, like Mexican and Basque versions. However, the type made by Goya is the one that fits the bill. These match what I had in Spain and in the better Spanish restaurants in New York City.
¼ Cup of Olive Oil
A splash of White Wine
2 Cups of Uncooked Rice
As for Cookware
This type of cooking is made for Le Creuset enameled cast iron. Yes, there are cheaper alternatives. I’ve seen them in Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond. Although I’ve never used other brands, I swear by the quality of Le Creuset. My mom has some for over forty-years.
The Next Phase
Start by placing the chorizo slices in a large pot (preferably like the one named above). Remember when it comes to any type of sausage, low and slow is the way to go.
Once the chorizo has some color on them, remove and reserve. As you can see, the chorizo has rendered beautiful red-orange colored drippings.
Put the olive oil and fry the chicken pieces. You don’t have to cook them all the way through. You want some golden brown color. Remove and reserve with the chorizo.
Next add the veggies to the oil. After they become a bit soft you can sweat them.
You don’t have to remove the onion and peppers. Now toss in that splash of White Wine and deglaze. Just simply add the rice to the pot and get the rice coated in the oil and cooked a bit. Then add that broth that has been steeping for a while.
Add the cooked and chorizo back into the pot and cover. Treat it as if you are making plain rice. When it starts boiling, lower the temperature to the lowest setting for 20-25 minutes.
Uncover and add the pimiento and olives (remember the olives are optional). Residual heat will warm those last two ingredients. Mix them in and serve.
I hope you try this one. Let me how it came out!
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