Arroz con pollo, simplified

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By Chef Ed Dychauco

Pots and Pans

Thursday, June 19, 2014


LITERALLY translated, Arroz con pollo means rice with chicken, is a traditional Latin dish although there are some dispute as to whether this originated in Spain or in Puerto Rico in South America.

I think this would take a lot more research to know the humble beginnings of this beloved dish. But nevertheless, this has been with us for a long time.

Just like the paella, another famous rice favorite that has its roots from Valencia, Spain, I can say the only difference (though this really depends on the chef making the dish!) is the meat ingredients added to it.

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Paella can be made with sea food which is quite popular, meat like pork, beef or chicken, assorted vegetables or a combination of any of the above mentioned items.

However with arroz con pollo, it clearly says “chicken and rice” as their major ingredients. The rest plays secondary roles which can include again the basic ingredients and more that we use in our daily dishes.

Oil, but since this is a Latin dish, olive oil is used, plus garlic, onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, saffron, oregano, paprika and maybe some chilies if hotness is desired.

Another item that is popular in the making of this is the use of “sofrito,” which is basically a sauce made from diced or pureed aromatic vegetables & seasoning, cooked in oil. This is found in Latin American stores or supermarkets.

Using this can simplify the making of this delectable dish, although with the addition of the other ingredients stated can enhanced the flavor much better.

Instead of saffron which is really expensive, we can make us of “kasubha” or even atchuete oil so as to give that unique flavor & yellow color to it.

Normally, chicken are cut into parts, but some chooses to have the sliced chicken breasts instead.

The chicken pieces are coated with flour that is flavored with salt & pepper and half-cooked by pan-frying them.

They are then cooked all the way when added to the rice.

What made this more special is that the rice in itself is already flavored with chicken stock (maybe pork, beef, etc.) which means, the rice itself has its own taste and aroma.

This I should say is a special meal by itself, so need for other stuffs well, except for the dessert.

3-4 Tbsps olive oil (ok, ordinary oil will do, too)

2 cups sliced chicken strips (maybe more if desired) or

4 pcs chicken legs cut into 3-4 pieces

Flour, salt & pepper, to coat chicken

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pc onion, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, drain or

1 cup tomatoes, quartered

1 pc bell pepper, chopped

3 cup rice

3-4 cups chicken stock (maybe more)

1 tsp oregano

1-2 tsp paprika

Pinch saffron or kasubha or

2-3 tbsp atchiote oil

Salt & pepper

Roll chicken pieces in flour mixture and pan-fry for about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Sauté garlic & onions in hot oil. Add the tomatoes & bell pepper.

Follow with the rice and mix well.

Pour the stock and add the rest of the ingredients except salt & pepper.

Let simmer. After about 30 minutes, add the chicken pieces and continue cooking rice till done.

Season with salt & pepper.

Serve hot.

If using sofrito, pour it together with the chicken stock.

As I have said, this dish can be cooked in different manner depending on one preparing it but generally, I would do it “my” way as mentioned above.

So, why not try it at home today and amaze your family & friends with this delicious meal!

[Email: potsnpans1976@yahoo.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 19, 2014.

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