Chicken and Yellow Rice Recipe
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Chicken and Yellow Rice
(Arroz con Pollo)

From: De Nuestra Mesa: Our Food, Wine and Tradition

Arroz con pollo is probably one of the most familiar dishes of Latin American cuisine. Unfortunately, what is served in many places as arroz con pollo or Spanish rice is a travesty of the original. A good arroz con pollo is a great company dish that combines chicken, rice and some vegetables for a complete one-pot meal. It is a relative of Spanish paella and asopao from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Alfredo Hernandez who contributed this recipe gives this explanation: "This version of Cuban arroz con pollo adds some ideas from the Puerto Rican asopao such as the use of cilantro as a condiment and the addition of grated cheese. However, it has the consistency of the Cuban dish and therefore is not as soupy as Puerto Rican style''. Dr. Alfredo Hernandez is a psychiatrist and gifted amateur chef. Everyone who has had the good fortune to try this recipe that he developed, will attest to the tact that his is absolutely the best arroz con pollo ever.

Servings: 12

8 cups chicken broth (recipe follows)
2 chickens, cut into 8 pieces, or 8 chicken quarters
2 cups sour orange juice or a mixture of equal parts orange and lemon juice
1/2 pound ham cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced red pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced or an 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 envelopes Sazon Goya with saffron*
8 or 10 saffron threads, toasted and pulverized
4 cups short grain rice (Valencia style) rinsed and drained
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 cup good dry white wine
1 (15 ounce) can tender green peas or 1 cup frozen peas
1 (12 ounce) package grated Swiss or Muenster cheese

* Sazon Goya with saffron is a seasoning mix found in Latin American markets or in the ethnic section of many supermarkets.

Broth
Neck, back and giblets of 2 chickens
3 carrots cut in large pieces
1 large onion, cut in large pieces

Toast the saffron in a small dry skillet for a few minutes over medium heat. Pulverize the saffron in a mortar or between 2 sheets of wax paper with the back of a wooden spoon.

Marinate the chicken pieces in the sour orange juice or lemon and orange
mixture at least for 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Place all the ingredients for the broth in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and set aside.

Cook the arroz con pollo in an extra large Dutch oven or in a cazuela, which is a style of Dutch oven that is sold in Latin American markets and in some supermarkets. The sides of the cazuela are not as high as the regular Dutch oven.

Dry the chicken pieces with paper towels. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat and in it saute the chicken pieces. Add the ham and saute also. Remove the chicken and ham from the pan and set aside. The chicken skin can be removed if you are concerned with fat.

In the remaining oil in the pan, saute the onion, sweet peppers and garlic for 4 or 5 minutes. Add the garlic last to prevent it from burning which will give the dish a bitter taste. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes longer over low heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of Goya seasoning, the saffron, salt, cilantro and the bay leaves. Add the chicken and the ham and 8 cups of broth. Bring all to a boil, add the rice, and bring to a boil again. Stir, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, pour the wine over all and gently fold in the peas. Spread the grated cheese over the surface of the rice and garnish with the following:

Garnish

1 (6 1/2-ounce) can whole red pimentos, sliced in strips
2 jars white asparagus (usually 5 in each jar)
1 can artichokes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

All the garnishing ingredients are traditional and are placed in spokes radiating from the center which is decorated with a small bunch of parsley. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

AUTHOR: Lori A



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