Saturday, January 31, 2009
(Not) Chicken and Rice: Recipe
About 10 years ago I worked with a wonderful woman named Rosa. She was tall with beautiful long black hair and a very gentle way about her. She was born in the West Indies and man oh man could she cook an unbelievable dish of "Chicken and Rice." We used to have pot luck holiday parties or bridal showers for co-workers and I would beg her to make this dish. She would bring it in a hefty aluminum tray and heat it up in the ovens in the diner in the bottom of our office - and it would be gone almost as quickly as she set it down. Of course I pleaded for the recipe but she always told me there wasn't one. So together one day, before she left for another job opportunity, I asked her to try her hardest to recreate the dish from memory.
Mind you, this is not nearly the same as I remember Rosa making but that was a long time ago and my husband swore it was a nine on a scale of 1-10 (and yes, I did confirm that he meant 10 was the best). It was delicious and the spicy sauce was always, to me, what made the dish so spectacular. I could eat this often - it is very easy and very good. I say "not" chicken and rice because traditional Arroz Con Pollo has saffron flavored rice - this does not. And the flavors somehow make you think of India rather than South America. Either way, it is worth making.
Chicken and Rice
2 lbs. chicken (thighs and drumsticks), rinsed and dried very well
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large tomato, cubed
1/3 cup mixed fresh parsley and fresh cilantro
3 cups water
2 cups Basmati Rice
1 green pepper, cored and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup parsley
2/3 of a small Roma tomato, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. jalapeno
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large garlic clove
In a very large pot, heat oil over high heat for about 2 minutes. Slip as many chicken pieces in, skin side down, as possible without over crowding the pot. If you need to brown chicken in batches, do that. Over medium high heat, brown all chicken pieces - about 6-8 minutes per batch. If doing in batches, remove chicken to a large bowl. Once all chicken has been browned, keep them in a large bowl and reserve.
In the hot oil, fry the onions and the scallions together, scraping up the browned bits of chicken. Saute about 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent - do not burn. Add the garlic and stir well. Add back the chicken along with any juice it collected in the bowl. Add the tomato, parsley and cilantro and stir well. Add in the rice and mix. Next add in the water, stir once or twice to ensure nearly all the rice is submerged. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer. Cover the pot with tin foil and then place a tight fitting cover on top. Cook on low heat for about 25-30 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. If the rice is not fully cooked and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add in an additional 1/2 cup water, stir and replace the cover.
Meanwhile, place all sauce ingredients into a food processor and chop well.
Serve the two together and serve with extra sauce on the side.