Showing posts with label Arroz Con Pollo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arroz Con Pollo. Show all posts

Friday, May 3, 2013

Arroz con Pollo

by Sheila Connolly

I know, our delightful guest Victoria Hamilton gave a recipe for this dish only a few short months ago. But I've found that there are more variations to this than you can shake a stick at.  My husband makes one that involves tomato paste and peas.  Mine is comfort food, from a recipe my mother used.

There's a backstory to this dish.  My great-grandmother was wealthy, and her only child, my grandfather, was not exactly a go-getter.  When he married, at twenty, Mom bought him and his lovely bride…an orange plantation in Cuba.  So for several years they spent part of each year in Cuba, doing who knows what. "Managing," I assume, since they weren't working the groves themselves, I'm sure. The last trip they made there was in 1928, when my mother was a toddler. That year a hurricane wiped out the house, and they never rebuilt it.  But they held on to the property (and paid the taxes on it!) until the Communist takeover in the 1950s. I still have the deeds.

I may have mentioned before that my grandmother didn't cook, but somehow she passed on this recipe to my mother, so I guess that makes this a Cuban version.  My mother made it regularly when I was growing up, and that's why I know about saffron, which is an essential part of the dish.

About a half teaspoon
Saffron is expensive, and sometimes hard to find, but its flavor is unique.  And you can't skimp on it in this dish or it's wasted, so use it generously.  It also imparts a wonderful color to the rice.

My Mother's Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

Note:  Since there are only two of us at home, I usually cook this using two bone-in chicken breasts.  You can easily double it, or use other chicken pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Vegetable oil for sauteing
2 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried saffron
1 1/2 cups rice (not instant)

Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a thin layer of oil in a sauté pan and sear the breasts, turning once.  Put the chicken pieces in a greased baking dish that has a lid.

Saute the onion in the same pan over medium heat, until soft but not browned.  Spread the cooked onions over the chicken pieces.  Add the stock and saffron to the pan and stir, scraping up any browned bits in the pan.  (You should taste it at this point, and if the stock is not too salty, add salt.)

Pour the liquid over the chicken pieces.  Add the rice and distribute evenly in the liquid (note:  make sure you get all the rice submerged and there's none left sitting on the chicken, or those bits will not cook).

Cover the dish and place in the preheated oven.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Welcome Guest Author Victoria Hamilton and Comment-to-Win Her New Mystery!

We are in for a real treat today with our guest blogger Victoria Hamilton.

Victoria writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series. The second book in her series, Bowled Over, is releasing this Tuesday, and you can comment on this post for a chance to win a copy.

Scroll down to find out more about Victoria's new title as well as her brand new mystery series set to debut later this year--or maybe I should say "bran" new! You'll see why below. :) 

And now, please join me in welcoming today's guest. Take it away, Victoria!

~ Cleo Coyle

"Juggling Food" 

Writing and publishing mysteries has been my lifelong ambition. I kid you not; at twelve I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a writer. My dad was thinking Kierkegaard, while I was thinking Agatha Christie. It is wonderful beyond belief to achieve that goal. So wonderful I promised myself I’d never turn down work, no matter how busy I was.

Three years ago I had no mystery series. Sad face. :( 

Two years ago I had one mystery series. Smiley face! :) 

One year ago I had two mystery series. Super smiley face!! :) :)

And now? Well, now I have three series. Scaredy face! :( And...
Super smiley face!!! :) :) :)

Best (and worst) of all, two out of the three require recipes to accompany the text. Uh… yippee? 

What kind of recipes do I need to figure out, check, recheck and write out for my mystery series? In Vintage Kitchen Mysteries my heroine, Jaymie Leighton, takes vintage recipes and modernizes them for today’s cook, utensils, measurements, etc. Book 2, Bowled Over, comes out on March 5th and has a recipe for Potato Salad that I’m now afraid will have too much mayonnaise in it for some. Too late to go back! I like mayonnaise, though, and a lot does soak into the potatoes. 

In my new series, Merry Muffin Mysteries, set to debut with Book 1 - Bran New Murder - September 3rd of this year, I will be including muffins and probably some other random comfort food recipes in each book. I am the Soup Queen, so you can bet I’ll have soup recipes in some books. I made a dinner soup the other night… Chicken Vegetable Cannellini… and it was… mmMM! To die for. 

Of course with those two and a third series set to debut in 2014, I’m pretty busy. In my day-to-day life, then, it’s no mystery that I tend to fall back on those foods that everyone likes and are also easy to prepare with a minimum of recipe reading. One-dish recipes hit that note every time. To that end I thought I would offer up one of my all-time favorites, my version of Arroz Con Pollo, or Spanish Chicken and Rice. I adapted it from one I found in the New Doubleday Cookbook, though mine has evolved to be substantially different over time. 

Arroz Con Pollo 

Serves 6 if you have dainty eaters, 3 – 4 if not.

Ingredients 1: 

6 Chicken thighs

Enough flour to coat, about 1/3 cup.

Oil (Olive is best)

Method 1:

1 – Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, on the stove top:

2 - Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour. I usually just put the flour in a plastic bag and shake the thighs one or two at a time, then set them on a plate until I have them all ready.

3 - Heat oil in a largish skillet on moderate high heat for a minute or so, then, in small batches, brown chicken well, setting aside on paper towels to drain. Don’t worry that red juices will still be running when you take the thighs out, as they will be cooking in the oven. 

Then, the rice mixture: 

Ingredients 2:

1 cup uncooked long grain rice. (Basmati really is best for this; the grains stay separate and soak up the flavor. Honestly, I can’t say enough about Basmati. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and fragrance.)

1 small yellow onion

¼ to ½ red pepper

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup diced smoky ham OR julienned ham of your favorite kind.

1 cup chicken stock

1 ½ cup diced tomato with juices (it is important that the liquid in this dish equals about 2 cups, without counting the tomato chunks so the rice will cook properly)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning, or your favorite: basil or oregano work well.

1 small dried bay leaf, crumbled.

*Note: When I look back at the original recipe from which this is derived, I see that I have changed it substantially. And left out two ingredients, pimientos and saffron, probably because I don’t have them in the kitchen and wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them. But I think I will try the saffron sometime, because I’ve heard so much about it. 

Method 2: 

1 - Reduce fry pan heat to low/moderate and, in the oil left from doing the chicken, stir fry onion, diced peppers and garlic for 5 minutes; add ham and stir fry 3 to 4 minutes longer until onion is golden.

2 - Add rice, stir fry 1 minute, then add broth, tomatoes (breaking up clumps) the salt and pepper, seasoning and bay leaf. Mix well.

3 – Turn all of this mixture into a 9 X 13 pan, and nestle chicken pieces on top. Cover with foil and bake about 50 minutes, until the chicken is fork tender. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more.

This dish converts rice haters and is so good it will soon be a part of your regular cooking repertoire. It seems a little work-heavy at first, but once you get going, it gets easier and easier. Serve with a salad and enjoy!



Victoria is giving away one (1) copy of Bowled Over. Contest open to Canadian and US residents only and ends March 10th 2013. Leave a comment on this post to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author.


Meet the author:

Victoria Hamilton writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (Book 2 – Bowled Over, comes out March 5th) and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley (Book , Bran New Murder, debuts September 3rd, 2013) Victoria loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and writing mysteries. 

Check out her webpage for all the latest: and find her on Facebook at: