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Old 10-21-2006, 10:02 PM   #1
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Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice)

This recipe doesn't have exact portions, but it turns out yummy. Worth the work.

EQUIPMENT
cast iron dutch oven or enameled cast iron dutch oven with tight-fitting lid (cast iron lid is ideal but pyrex lid is OK too as long as it fits snugly)
simmer ring (optional but recommended for the last stage of cooking)

INGREDIENTS
> skinned chicken thighs, 1 or two per person (I like the more flavorful dark meat, plus it is less likely to overcook)
> chorizo sausage – one sausage per person (???) - optional but highly recommended
> oil for browning the chicken pieces (I used olive oil)
> sofrito – about to 1 cup (figure about cup sofrito per cup of raw rice) - see next post in this thread for recipe
> achiote oil (aka annatto oil) – about 1-2 TBS (depends on how much oil you leave in the pot – 1 TBS is about right for 1-1/2 cups raw rice) - Achoite oil is made by steeping whole annatto seeds in warm oil - see bottom of this post for more info and link to recipe
> 2 or 3 cored, skinned tomatoes, roughly chopped (I like plum tomatoes)
> long grain white rice – 1- to 2 cups raw rice (or more - it depends on the number of people you want to serve and how much they like rice - 1/2 cup raw rice yeilds 1 cup cooked)
> chicken broth – a little less than 2x the amount of raw rice - remember the tomatoes and sofrito contribute some liquid also as they cook down
> a few bay leaves (optional)
> salt and fresh ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
If you don't have sofrito in your freezer, make it now. See the next post in this thread for sofrito recipe. If you have previously made and frozen sofrito, remove it from the freezer now (it does not have to be completely defrosted to use). See INGREDIENTS section of this recipe for how much sofrito you will need.

Dry chicken pieces thoroughly. Rub with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Set aside.

Peel and chop tomatoes. (If you don't already have achiote oil, you can make it now so it will be ready when needed.) The sofrito should already be made.

Add oil to dutch oven. Heat to medium and saute chicken pieces on both sides until lightly browned on all sides. Do this in two stages if necessary so you don't crowd the pan. Remove to platter. Pour out oil and discard.

Brown sausage in the same dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned on all sides. Remove to platter. Discard any excess fat. (You add additional oil in the next step; all you want to do is keep the nice brown bits on the bottom of the pot from the chicken and sausage)

Add achiote oil to dutch oven. Add the sofrito to the oil in the casserole, cook over medium heat until soft but do not brown, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the diced fresh tomato and cook for one more minute.

Add broth to dutch oven. Throw in some bay leaves at this point if you want to. Bring to a boil. Taste for salt at this point and add more if needed.

While the liquid is coming to a boil, measure and rinse the rice - this eliminates any surface starch so the rice is less likely to get gummy during cooking.

Add the rice and cook over medium heat, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring until the rice is semi-dry but some liquid remains. The liquid should be at a medium boil. At the end of this stage, the rice should still be somewhat hard at the center.

Bury the chicken and sausage in the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. The liquid should be *barely* simmering. (If you have a simmer ring, this is the stage to use it, since a thick dutch oven stores a lot of heat and is slow to cool down.) Turn the rice and the chicken and sausage over with a fork from bottom to top; cover and simmer for about another 10 minutes or until the chicken and sausage are cooked through but still moist and rice is done.

========================
Achiote oil (aka annatto oil) is made with olive oil and annatto seeds. It is easy to make if you can find seeds. Googling for either of those terms yeilds lots of recipes. They're all similar. Here's a link to the one I use Daisy Cooks! with Daisy Martinez except I halve the recipe since I don't use it all the time.

ADJUSTED RECIPE FOR ACHIOTE OIL (from above link)
Makes about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon achiote (annatto) seeds

Heat the oil and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat just until the seeds give off a lively, steady sizzle. Don't overheat the mixture or the seeds will turn black and the oil a nasty green. Once they're sizzling away, pull the pan from the heat and let stand until the sizzling stops. Strain as much of the oil as you are going to use right away into the pan; store the rest for up to 4 days at room temperature in a jar with a tight fitting lid.

Annatto seeds look like this

=========================
SOFRITO: My sofrito is a combination of finely minced onion, garlic cloves, cubanello (or green) peppers and lots of fresh cilantro. It is not cooked. I've posted the sofrito recipe I use as the 2nd reply in this thread. I use a food processor to make the sofrito (if you're determined and good with a knife you can make it by hand). Sofrito (and it's sister, Recaito) is an ingredient in many Latino dishes. Searching on either term turns up lots of variations.

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Old 10-21-2006, 10:14 PM   #2
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sofrito for arroz con pollo (chicken and rice)

SOFRITO FOR ARROZ CON POLLO

makes about 1-1/2 to 2 cups

EQUIPMENT
food processor fitted with metal blade

INGREDIENTS
2 large cubanelle peppers (or green peppers)
1 large (3-inch diameter) yellow onion
1 bulb of garlic (8-10 garlic cloves)
1 cup packed leaves and tender stems of fresh cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS
peel onion and cut into chunks
peel garlic cloves
stem peppers, remove seeds and membrane and cut into chunks
wash the cilantro well to make sure it is grit-free, dry, and measure

Place the onion and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times. Add pepper chunks. Pulse a few times more. Add cilantro. Pluse a few times to mix it in, then process until mixture is finely chopped but the ingredients still have their integrity. Careful not to turn it into a mush.

You can freeze what you don't use immediately in 1/2 to 1 cup portions in zip-lock sandwich bags. Some people like to freeze it in ice cube trays.

====================
Sofrito kinda disappears into the rice but it really contributes to the flavor.

Again, googling for "sofrito" will yeild lots of variations. For this recipe, I tried to stay away from possibly harder to find (but commonly used) ingredients such as recao leaves (aka culantro), which is a fresh herb with a taste like cilantro on steroids and "ajices dulce" which are small sweet peppers with a touch of heat.
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:55 PM   #3
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This sounds wonderful, I shall search for annato seed, that's the only ingredient I don't happen to have on hand. Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:40 PM   #4
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All of your receipes sound fantastic and I will make sure that I make a copy for my receipe file.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-03-2006, 03:17 PM   #5
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re achiote oil substitute plus comments on ingredients and cooking utensil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flourgirl
This sounds wonderful, I shall search for annato seed, that's the only ingredient I don't happen to have on hand. Thanks.
hi Flourgirl,

Homemade achiote oil (aka annatto oil), while authentic, is the easiest ingredient in this dish to skip. While it does contribute a subtle flavor, another purpose is simply to color the rice. A substitute (for coloring the rice) for achiote oil is tumeric powder.

If you cannot find annato seed to make your own achiote oil, I would suggest using the fat left over from browning the sausage and supplementing it (as necessary) with some of the oil left over from browning the chicken. Aim for the equivalent amount of achiote oil suggested in the recipie.

Look at the stage in instructions where it says to "Add achiote oil to pan". You have no achiote oil (duhhhh ) so start with the fat left over from the sausage, add what you need from the oil left over from browning the chicken, and sprinkle in about 1 healthy pinch tumeric powder for each TBS of oil you're using. Give it a quick stir and then proceed.

A major point of this dish is that the rice is incredibly flavorful. The sofrito and fresh tomato is much more important than achiote oil. Chorizo sausage also flavors the rice during the slow cooking stage.

Also important is a *quality* chicken stock that has been *thoroughly* degreased. If you don't make your own chicken stock, look for the best quality, fat-free, low-sodium chicken stock you can buy. Try to stay away from canned chicken stock and avoid boullion cubes.

Equally important to the success of this dish is the use of cast iron or enameled cast iron. This is a stove top dish from start to finish. By the time you add the rice to the liquid, your cast iron pot will be hot *on the sides* as well as the bottom. Your rice is surrounded by heat (not just heated from the bottom) which facilitates even cooking of the rice. When you bury the chicken and sausage in the pot and cover it for the final cooking stages you *immediately* want to have the heat be reduced to a simmer which is why I *strongly recommend* the use of the simmer ring. This final stage is what allows the flavors to meld, the rice to continue cooking at an even surrounding heat, and the chicken and sausage to finish cooking in the gentle heat of the surrounding rice.
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Old 11-03-2006, 03:24 PM   #6
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sounds good!

I don't use tomatoes in mine, and I make saffron rice... My recipe comes from my favorite Spanish restaurant in New York... I used to make it with the owner/chef on Saturdays! I like peas in mine, too.
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Old 11-13-2006, 05:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune
...I don't use tomatoes in mine, and I make saffron rice... My recipe comes from my favorite Spanish restaurant in New York... I used to make it with the owner/chef on Saturdays! I like peas in mine, too.
Your comments suggest that the origin of your recipe is Spain.

I live in an urban, working class, Latino neighborhood in the USA. I purchase most of my food in my immediate neighborhood. All ingredients in my recipe are available at my local supermarkets. This has colored the recipe I gave.

Believe me, peas (even in their frozen state) seldom appear in local dishes. Saffron, the most expensive spice available anywhere in the world, is definitely not sold in my local supermarkets nor is it used in my local restaurants. Fresh tomatoes, on the other hand, are always available in my local supermarkets, regardless of season.

The *ingredients* I use are standard for my locality. The *equipment*, on the other hand, is not. I sincerely doubt that families in my neighborhood own a $100-plus Cusinart (recommended for sofrito). Also, I know that cast aluminum (not castiron), is the usual utensil to make this dish.
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