Since being on holiday, I’ve done a bit of meal planning and prep work for upcoming meals for the week, some of which are more elaborate than the usual weeknight fare we have here. Last night, I decided we’d have something that was relatively fast and easy to fix since I’d been busy all day and SB was tired from the long day at school (they were in session until today!). Enter arroz con pollo:
It’s a variation of the usual chicken and rice dinner that I used to cook quite a lot as a kid, when both my repetoire and palate were much more limited than they are now.
I’ll start off by saying that this recipe really does need onions to add depth of flavor, but due to food allergy issues in our house, they have been omitted. If you do make this yourself, add half a small onion that has been finely diced to the rice when you brown it.
Here’s how I made the dish. You will need:
- 4 chicken leg quarters, excess fat removed
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, raw
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- OPTIONAL: half a small onion, finely diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the leg quarters by removing any excess fat and skin, or your finished dish will be extremely greasy. Sprinkle the leg quarters liberally with salt and pepper. On either a broiling pan or a rack set in a jelly roll pan, roast the leg quarters for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the leg is pierced with a fork. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
During the last 15 minutes of the chicken cooking time, in a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat so that you can brown the rice. You will know that the oil is hot enough when you put a couple of rice grains in it and they dance a bit in the pan. When the oil is hot, add the rice and stir it around as it browns slightly. If you decide to use onion, this is where you want to add it in. Once the rice is lightly browned, add in your tomato sauce and stir. Add in the water and spices, and stir thoroughly to mix. Let this mixture cook for a few minutes until it begins to bubble. Once the rice begins to bubble, add in the chicken and cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to simmer, and allow the rice to cook, stirring only a couple of times as you don’t want your rice to be mushy. Allow the rice to cook for about 30 minutes, and tilt the lid slightly to allow steam to escape during the last 8-10 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, close the lid and let the dish finish steam cooking for about 10 minutes. Serve while hot.
We ate ours with mashed pinto beans and cheese. This would also be good with a green salad and tortillas. This recipe made 4 servings: 1 leg quarter plus about a cup of rice each, so for us, we got two really yummy meals out of this recipe.