Sunday, May 9, 2010

Arroz Con Pollo en Forma de Paella (Chicken and Rice in Paella form)

Before I begin for this recipe your going to need a "Paellera" which is a large flat round pan, or a large round kinda flat clay pot, if not it won't come out the same or work. Also if your burner is too small it won't work well or you'll have to rotate it many times.

I've been looking forward to making a Seafood Paella, but wanted to give myself a practice round so I made "Arroz Con Pollo" (chicken with rice) and cooked it in the same fashion (cooking time, liquid ratios, technique) that I would use to make the seafood paella.

Traditionally the technique to cook "Paella" is to cook outdoors on charcoal or wood fire or indoors over flaming coals. Some people use large burners also. The rice is never covered, it's cooked open in a large flat pan called a "Paellera"in english a "Paella pan" I didn't feel like cooking it outdoors and was okay using one of my normal stove burners since it was large enough, and I ended up using to burners towards the end to get my rice to cook evenly. Rotating and technique was important on my stove top.

I've made this dish before for a friend at his house, unfortunately his stove was really small and the burner so i could never get my paellera in the center of the fire, the rice didn't cook evenly, parts burnt and the fire just wasn't large and wide enough to make all the water evaporate perfectly. I ended up with mushy rice.

But here at home it came out perfect :)


-3 lbs. chicken cut into small pieces
-1 onion minced
-1 bell pepper minced
-1/2 head garlic minced
-2 ripe grated tomatoes or chopped or 1/2 cup tomato sauce
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-2 bay leaves
-1 can or bottle of your favorite beer or 1 cup dry white wine
-5 cups water plus 1 more so I guess 6 (you may need more depending on your burner or stove)
-2 1/2 cups short grain rice
-1 tsp. bijol/ colorante/ saffron or a sazon goya packet with achiote or azafran for color

-1/2- 1 cup frozen peas for color
-1 fire roasted red bell pepper cut into strips for color


(1) Heat a the large pan on high heat, when hot, quickly add olive oil, lower heat to medium high, sprinkle with salt so chicken won't stick to much, and add chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Brown chicken on all sides

(2) While chicken is browning, chop your onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Once browned, stir in onion and bell pepper, allow to cook down until translucent, add garlic cook until fragrant, add tomato sauce stir well and reduce, add all your spices, bay leave, cumin, oregano. Stir well, and stream in beer all of it, allow to reduce on high heat and it will deglaze everything to until it's thick and coats the chicken.
(3) Add your water and bring to a boil on high heat, add saffron or bijol or whatever coloring you used, along with 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional) lower heat to medium high and allow chicken to boil for about 10-15 minutes uncovered or more until it's tender.
(4) Somewhere in between while doing all that stuff, clean your rice by washing it 3 times, and drain it well, add it to the boiling pot in the form of a cross (I don't know why it's superstition or tradition I guess)
(5) Spread it evenly, throw your peas (optional) allow to boil on high heat for 5 minutes, then lower heat to medium high for 15 minutes
(6) Turn off heat, cover with a cloth, and seal with a top if you have one let it rest at least 10 more minutes (this will make the harder rice on top poof or be tender enough to eat)
(7) Uncover, decorate with fire roasted red bell pepper
(8) Served it at the table family style so everyone can just pile it up on their plates, along with a delicious salad. Felt like doing this close- up
On my plate, I went a little light on the yellow coloring but it was still delicious
*I have a pot of boiling water on the side, in case the rice absorbs all the liquid to quickly and needs more, I ladle hot boiling water or broth carefully.

*Also this is the best Arroz Con Pollo I have made, my family loved it! From now on this will be the "Arroz Con Pollo" I will be making :)