Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lightened Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con pollo is a simple dinner of chicken and rice.  I especially love this meal because it's a one-pot dish.  At the end of dinner, I don't have a sinkful of dishes to deal with...  and that's just what the doctor ordered on a hot, 112 degree summer day. 

Funny story...  like I said, it's been hot.  Not just hot, but HOT.  As in highs ranging from 108-115 degrees F.  And last night, for a minute, we lost power.  No big deal because it came back on... but now our A/C is acting funky.  I guess this is a not-so-funny story.  We turned the thermostat up to 75 or 76 and ran fans all night as high as we could to keep cool and give the A/C a break.  We hope that it's just extremely hot and the A/C is trying to keep up... not that it's broken or is going to break at any minute.  We're brand-new home owners, so we're learning as we go.  If it keeps making noises tonight, I'm calling the air-guy!

Anyway, I turned the thermostat up to 78 when I left for work today, and shut all the blinds and curtains as tight as I could.  The fans are running and I hope that the A/C is in a better mood when I come home tonight.

So, arroz con pollo.  I've made it with chicken thighs, chicken legs, and skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts.  I love this meal!  It is one of my favorite "comfort food" dishes!

I got these chicken legs for about $3.50 when Sunflower was having markdowns.  There were 7 in the package; I froze the extra to eat with another meal later.  Arroz con pollo is definitely budget-friendly, so keep that in mind if money is tight but you want something hot and filling.

Lightened Arroz con Pollo

from Skinnytaste
Serves:  6-8
Stats:  214 cals for 1 cup rice (makes about 8 cups total)
     94 cals for large skinless drumstick
     145 cals for large skinless chicken thigh

8 medium or 6 large bone-in, skinless chicken thighs OR 8 medium or 6 large bone-in skinless chicken drumsticks
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp sazon (or make your own with a recipe at the bottom of the page)
about 1/2 tsp adobo powder
about 1/2 garlic powder
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
1/4 cup cilantro
3 cloves garlic
5 scallions
2 tbsp bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper (leave out if you don't like spicy)
1 medium-large tomato, diced
2 1/2 cups enriched long grain white rice
4 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
salt to taste (about 2 tsp)

Season chicken with vinegar, 1/2 tsp sazon, adobo and garlic powder and let it sit 10 minutes. Heat a large deep heavy skillet on medium, add 2 tsp oil when hot. Add chicken and brown ~5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Place onion, cilantro, garlic, scallions and peppers in mini food processor. Pulse to roughly chop, but not so much that it's a paste. Add remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion mixture on medium-low until soft, about 3 minutes. Add tomato, cook another minute.

Add rice, mix well and cook another minute. Add water, bouillon (be sure it dissolves well) and remaining sazon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Taste for salt, should taste salty enough to suit your taste, add more as needed.

Add chicken and nestle into rice, bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low until most of the water evaporates and you see the liquid bubbling at the top of the rice line, then reduce heat to low heat and cover. Make sure the lid has a good seal, no steam should escape (You could place a piece of tin foil or paper towel in between the lid and the pot if steam escapes).

Cook 20 minutes without opening the lid. Shut heat off and let it sit with the lid on an additional 10 minutes (don't peek!!!) Fluff with a fork and eat! 

Homemade sazon: 

1 packet is 1 1/2 tsp

1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground annatto (achiote) seeds
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp salt

If you can't find annatto you could use paprika instead.

For dinner, I had a medium-large leg and 3/4 c. rice.  I picked the skin off the drumstick before I ate it.  The rice was just so good, I had to go back for another 1/4 c. or so!  The only thing I would change if I could, would be to fit in 8 drumsticks.  However, my very large skillet won't fit 8 large drumsticks.  Possibly, 7?  I'll try it next time. 

We hardly ever finish all the rice, so I stick it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze it to have with a meal later on.  It keeps really well if you package it correctly, and I enjoy having a fast and easy side dish on hand.

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