Aroz con Pollo

Growing up in Miami, it seemed like every time I spent any time with any of my Cuban friends, I would end up eating Aroz Con Pollo. Each mom prided herself on cooking the dish just like their Abuela made back in Cuba. All of them were delightful. I have recently reminded myself of how much I LOVE Cuban food, do I thought I would take a shot at making this delightful. The only non-Cuban that I know who has made this dish correctly, is my Sister-in-Law, Sharon.

Here we go..

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
12 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (6 drumsticks and 6 thighs*) 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 large onion, chopped 
1 red bell pepper, chopped 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads 
1-2 bay leaves 
1/2 tsp of Bijol or 1 packet of Sazon Con Arzfran
1 cup diced tomato fresh or stewed (canned but drained)
2 cups chicken stock 
One 12-ounce bottle lager beer
2 cups arborio rice 
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 roasted red peppers sliced thin 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in shifts of 3-4 pieces for 7 to 8 minutes until all have been cooked and browned. Repeat with the remaining drumsticks and thighs.Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the onions and peppers to the pot with the chicken juices and cook until the onions are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the paprika, cumin, saffron and bay leaves, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, beer, rice and 1 teaspoon salt; mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
  6. Return the chicken pieces to the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the peas and pimientos, then cover and return to the oven until the rice is completely tender, another 5 to 10 minutes.

* You can use boneless skinless breasts if you like but the tradition is for cut up fryer with skin and bones.  If you prefer boneless skinless breasts be sure to marinade them in Mojo Corillio, a Cuban citrus based marinade. You can do that for the dark meat parts too ..just adds flavor.