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I have a complete inability to cook rice correctly.  I burn it, it’s crunchy, or completely mushy and gluey.  I usually Milli Vanilli my rice and buy the overpriced “boil in bag” kind or just buy it premade.  Main problem here? I LOVE Arroz con pollo and I consider it my perfect comfort food.  I always refuse to allow myself to eat rice and pasta, considering them tightly packed, calorie carb bombs.  But when rice is covered with cumin and tomatoes, I cannot resist and I needed it this weekend.  I saw Smitten Kitchen’s version, plus also had some good renditions from growing up at my Ecuadorian friend’s house.  I use to watch his mother cook this one pot dish and marvel at how little care she gave the pot, but how easily everything came together.   She was a master of a mis en place and it is quite useful in this multi-ingredient dish.

At the end of cooking, I was expecting the rice to be a gluey mess, or completely stuck to the pot, but I was wrong.  The chicken was tender, the rice was fluffy and flavorful and there was a little bit of crispy rice at the bottom of the pot, which was definitely a highlight and meant to occur.  So even if you are afraid of rice, please try this.  It is pretty foolproof, just make sure that the rice is submerged and you don’t open the pot too often to stir– letting steam escape ruins the cooking rice.  I made a half recipe because I only had one broken down chicken, but I could easily see myself making a double or triple recipe for a crowd.  If I can do it, I promise, you can too.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 8

Chicken:

  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 4 chicken breast halves with bone, halved crosswise
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 chicken thighs

Rice:

  • 6 ounces Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), skin discarded and sausage cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices  ( I just used hot chorizo from Fresh Direct and removed the casing and let it fall apart.  Yum.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 12-ounce. bottle beer (not dark)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice (14 ounces)

Marinate chicken: Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano.

Remove skin and excess fat from chicken, then toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour, two hours max.

To cook chicken and rice:  Cook chorizo in olive oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (12 inches wide) over medium-high heat, stirring, until some fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add chicken with marinade to chorizo mixture and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a separate plate for a quick second.  Stir in tomatoes, beer, broth, and rice and bring to a boil, making sure rice is submerged.  Add back in the chicken.

Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover mixture directly with a round of parchment or wax paper and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, stirring once or twice, until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard parchment paper and bay leaves.

Enjoy!

My final picture came out awful because of the steam, so I leave you with this…

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