CHICKEN AND RICE
I don’t often do 1 pot meals but sometimes it is worth having some down time and little fuss. Rice is a staple that is very popular is Spain and many countries around the world. It is a comfort food where a little goes a long way making it a cost effective way to feed several people. My version of arroz con pollo makes a risotto-like rice packed with flavour from the broth and vegetables. The chicken adds protein to give the meal a bit more sustenance. It also only takes about 15 minutes to prep. The rest of the work is the oven’s job.
I recently purchased a ceramic pan which I have fallen in love with. Ceramic is easy to clean and requires no oil when cooking. This means less fat and calories! For this dish I prepared 6 boneless chicken thighs by seasoning with salt and pepper and searing each side for 2 minutes in my new pan. Once they were done, I set them aside.
For this recipe you will need a Dutch oven, another amazing little piece of cookware. A Dutch oven is a cast iron dish with a lid that heats up evenly and transfers from stove top to oven. It cooks this dish perfectly and is foolproof. In the Dutch oven, heat about 2 cups of pisto. If you have not made some in advance, you can simply sauté any vegetables in a bit of olive oil. I would recommend some tomato, onion, and bell pepper.
After the pisto is heated, add the secret ingredient (not so secret I guess) of 1/2 C of cider. White wine works well also but the sweet notes of the apple work really nicely with the chicken. Once the cider cooks down (about 5 minutes on a simmer) the rice is ready to add. I used 1 cup of paella rice or bomba rice. Paella rice is a short grain (although a medium grain can be used alternatively) that looks rounder than your average rice. It keeps a slightly firm texture in the center when it is cooked and absorbs sauce really well. Stir the paella rice into mixture and then stir in 2 cups of chicken broth.
You have options to flavour the broth. I like to have a slight kick to my rice so I add spice in the form of espelette hailing from the Espelette region in France with the same name. This ground up pepper is pricy and not easy to find but the flavour is well worth it if you want to splurge. As a side note, it is also great sprinkled on pork.
Once everything is combined in your Dutch oven, simply place the chicken in the pot, cover, and bake for 45 minutes in a 350º preheated oven.
Fluff the rice with the sauce, serve and place chicken on top. You can garnish with some basil, which goes nicely, or sprinkle with a bit more of the espelette pepper.
With a nice side salad, this dish will serve a family of three.
Arroz con Pollo
1 C paella rice
2 C chicken broth
2 C pisto
6 boneless chicken thighs
1/2 C cider
1. Sear chicken for 2 minutes on each side and set it aside.
2. In a Dutch oven, sauté the pisto until hot.
3. Add cider and simmer on medium heat until alcohol burns off (approx. 5 minutes)
4. Stir rice until coated.
5. Stir in broth.
6. Add chicken, cover Dutch oven and place in a preheated oven 350º.
7. Bake for 45 minutes.
8. Serve hot.
Protein 31.7 g