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Old 01-20-2016, 03:38 PM   #1
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Cuban Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken)

I was raised in Cuba as a child and have always enjoyed my grandmother's traditional arroz con pollo. The recipe is in my head and normally done by feel but I'll do my best to nail it down here. The Spanish or Latino triad is called sofrito and is composed of onion, bell pepper (or pimiento) and garlic. You will see it used in many Latino dishes including this one.

Ingredients

1 cup long grain rice
2 chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
1 healthy pinch of Spanish or Iranian saffron
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Start by preparing the saffron. Put the saffron threads into a small ramekin or cup and add just enough water to cover it. Saffron releases its color and flavor in water, not in oil so you want to steep it a little. The result will be red threads in bright yellow water.

put a glug of olive oil in a large sauce pan and heat it. Add the chopped onions, pepper and half the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the rice. Cook for a couple of minutes to allow the rice to pick up the flavors. Add the stock, cover the pan and bring it to a near boil. Turn it down to a simmer and set the timer for 20 minutes.

Cut the chicken breasts into thin slices or a large dice as you prefer. Brown the chicken in a hot skillet with some olive oil, salt, pepper and th other half of the garlic. This should take less than 5 minutes. Now add the chicken and saffron (threads and water) to the pot and stir it up well. Recover the pot and smack your lips as you wait for the rice to finish its 20 minute cook time. The rice should have a strong yellow color when done. I usually serve it with fried plantain and Cuban (espresso) coffee.

You can also prepare it without the chicken and it becomes a popular side dish called arroz cubano.

I've seen it prepared like risotto but in my experience that tends to overcook the chicken. Hope you enjoy it.

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Old 01-20-2016, 07:02 PM   #2
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I certainly enjoy reading about family recipes. I think they bring warm memories besides just good food. Yours looks like a winner too.
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:12 PM   #3
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I really like the sound of this! Love Cuban food, thanks!
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:58 PM   #4
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Sounds delicious!
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:21 PM   #5
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I grew up in Miami and my mother made it a different way.
She made what I call a chicken soup then added the rice when it was done.

She also used the yellow coloring agent they pronounced "Be-Hole". It came in small packets or in a little tin. Not sure if it actually had saffron in it or not.
But it did color the rice yellow.

This was my wife's favorite meal my mother made.
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Old 01-24-2016, 07:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roll_Bones View Post
I grew up in Miami and my mother made it a different way.
She made what I call a chicken soup then added the rice when it was done.

She also used the yellow coloring agent they pronounced "Be-Hole". It came in small packets or in a little tin. Not sure if it actually had saffron in it or not.
But it did color the rice yellow.

This was my wife's favorite meal my mother made.
Bijol is actually a brand. It was founded in Cuba. They sell a number of condiments and spices including the Condiment #2 you describe. It probably contains turmeric but I don't know. I've seen turmeric sold as "Jamaican saffron." Since saffron is so expensive, this type of seasoning is a common substitute. Try it with saffron. Even though the stuff is terribly expensive, it doesn't take much to do the job and the result is outstanding.
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Old 01-24-2016, 07:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmw View Post
Bijol is actually a brand. It was founded in Cuba. They sell a number of condiments and spices including the Condiment #2 you describe. It probably contains turmeric but I don't know. I've seen turmeric sold as "Jamaican saffron." Since saffron is so expensive, this type of seasoning is a common substitute. Try it with saffron. Even though the stuff is terribly expensive, it doesn't take much to do the job and the result is outstanding.
Achiote paste (made from annato seeds) or annato seeds themselves will also give that same color. Have a family recipe for ropa vieja, vaca frita, bistec palomilla and picadillo? I grew up with a lot of Cuban neighbors and love the food.
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Old 01-24-2016, 09:35 AM   #8
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Achiote paste (made from annato seeds) or annato seeds themselves will also give that same color. Have a family recipe for ropa vieja, vaca frita, bistec palomilla and picadillo? I grew up with a lot of Cuban neighbors and love the food.
Thanks for the correction. I looked it up and the major ingrediant is annato. I ordered some today along with a half dozen cans of pasta de guayaba.

Since my wife doesn't eat beef, I don't make these. Ropa Vieja should just be pulled flank steak cooked with sofrito and tomato sauce on rice. We had palomilla steak in Cuba but I've never made it. I remember a steak pounded thin with onion and lemon or lime juice. I make picadillo fairly frequently but I make it with ground pork instead of ground beef. Here it is with beef.

1 lb ground beef
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 handful of raisins
salt and pepper
olive oil

Put a glug of olive oil in a skillet or saute pan. Heat the pan, add the sofrito ingredients and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the ground beef and break it up as cooks so that it is grainy and free of chunks. When the meat is cooked, add the raisins and cook the whole thing for another couple of minutes until the raisins are fat and soft. Serve on long grain rice.
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Old 01-24-2016, 09:47 AM   #9
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Given the interest in Cuban cuisine. I'll post a few more of my grandmother's recipes.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmw View Post
Thanks for the correction. I looked it up and the major ingrediant is annato. I ordered some today along with a half dozen cans of pasta de guayaba.

Since my wife doesn't eat beef, I don't make these. Ropa Vieja should just be pulled flank steak cooked with sofrito and tomato sauce on rice. We had palomilla steak in Cuba but I've never made it. I remember a steak pounded thin with onion and lemon or lime juice. I make picadillo fairly frequently but I make it with ground pork instead of ground beef. Here it is with beef.

1 lb ground beef
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 handful of raisins
salt and pepper
olive oil

Put a glug of olive oil in a skillet or saute pan. Heat the pan, add the sofrito ingredients and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the ground beef and break it up as cooks so that it is grainy and free of chunks. When the meat is cooked, add the raisins and cook the whole thing for another couple of minutes until the raisins are fat and soft. Serve on long grain rice.
Thanks for the recipe! I see you don't use any green olives. I have a cookbook "Memories of a Cuban Kitchen" which has a recipe using olives and sherry. Just proves again that there really isn't a "traditional" or "authentic" recipe for these dishes as every Abuela probably has her own version.

I make a Cuban style pork roast using a paste of salt, fresh garlic and cumin. I make deep holes in the pork butt with a pairing knife and force the paste deep inside rubbing the rest over the roast. I put the butt in a 2 gallon plastic bag which has thinly sliced onions on the bottom. Then I add fresh squeezed sour orange juice. It gets marinaded over night, being turned several times. I usually cook the roast in my large BGE. I turn the marinade into a mojo by steeping it in Spanish olive oil along with additional garlic. After it cools, it is great over the roast, over yucca and over tostones. Left over roast is used in Cuban sandwiches and Media Noches sandwiches. If I let the roast go to the internal temperature I normally go to with pulled pork (198F to 205F), it would work well as a sub for the beef in either the ropa vieja or vaca frita.
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chicken, recipe, rice

Cuban Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken) I was raised in Cuba as a child and have always enjoyed my grandmother's traditional arroz con pollo. The recipe is in my head and normally done by feel but I'll do my best to nail it down here. The Spanish or Latino triad is called sofrito and is composed of onion, bell pepper (or pimiento) and garlic. You will see it used in many Latino dishes including this one. Ingredients 1 cup long grain rice 2 chicken breasts 2 cups chicken stock 1 healthy pinch of Spanish or Iranian saffron 1 onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced salt and pepper to taste olive oil Start by preparing the saffron. Put the saffron threads into a small ramekin or cup and add just enough water to cover it. Saffron releases its color and flavor in water, not in oil so you want to steep it a little. The result will be red threads in bright yellow water. put a glug of olive oil in a large sauce pan and heat it. Add the chopped onions, pepper and half the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the rice. Cook for a couple of minutes to allow the rice to pick up the flavors. Add the stock, cover the pan and bring it to a near boil. Turn it down to a simmer and set the timer for 20 minutes. Cut the chicken breasts into thin slices or a large dice as you prefer. Brown the chicken in a hot skillet with some olive oil, salt, pepper and th other half of the garlic. This should take less than 5 minutes. Now add the chicken and saffron (threads and water) to the pot and stir it up well. Recover the pot and smack your lips as you wait for the rice to finish its 20 minute cook time. The rice should have a strong yellow color when done. I usually serve it with fried plantain and Cuban (espresso) coffee. You can also prepare it without the chicken and it becomes a popular side dish called arroz cubano. I've seen it prepared like risotto but in my experience that tends to overcook the chicken. Hope you enjoy it. 3 stars 1 reviews
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