This used to be one of our favorite dinners before we quit eating meat. Since we are currently not practicing vegans, I decided to cook up a batch. The combination of flavors in this recipe is flat-out amazing. We always make it with beer because I really like the complexity it adds, but wine or broth are good too. If you are so inclined, serve whatever beverage you cooked into the rice alongside the dish - the perfect pairing really takes it over the top. This dinner is impressive enough for company but easy enough for everyday.
Don't forget, whether you're decorating a room or writing a novel, be sure to include a good mix of flavors, colors and contrasts; the synergy they create makes the final product so much better. And be sure to cook "company food" for your family sometimes. When it comes down to it, aren't they who you want to impress the most?
Arroz con Pollo
2 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
1-1/2 lb. chicken breast, seasoned with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper (as backsliding vegans we used one breast, we used to use about three)
½ to 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage cut in pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium green or red bell pepper cut in 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground turmeric (optional)
pinch of saffron (optional)
½ C peeled, crushed tomatoes (we use mild Ro-tel)
½ C dry white wine or beer
1 bay leaf
2 Cs medium-grain rice
2 ¼ C water
In a deep, heavy pot heat the oil on medium high.
Sauté the chicken until golden on all sides, 7 to 10 min. Transfer to a platter.
Sauté the sausage until browned, about 3 min. Transfer to the platter.
Pour off excess oil, leaving about 1 Tbs. in the pan.
Reduce heat to medium and sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 min.
Return the chicken and sausage to the pot.
Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and turmeric, if using, stirring to distribute the spices.
Cook for 1 min. and then add the tomatoes, wine (or beer), and bay leaf. Increase the heat to medium high, stir, and cook for 2 min.
Add the rice and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
(oops. Got excited by the good smells and forgot to take pictures. Sorry)
Cook 25 min. If the rice is done but still very soupy, remove the cover and cook very gently until the liquid evaporates, taking care not to burn the rice.
Toss rice and let sit for 5 min. before serving.
Top with cheese if you'd like. You can also serve this rolled up in tortillas, which makes it more casual and hides the "scary" vegetables.
High Altitude: Add the rest of the can of tomatoes and another cup to cup and a half of water. Cook an additional 15 minutes.