There are many versions of Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice) around the world--it's near-universal family-friendly comfort food. This colorful Latin American version, which features saffron and lots of tomato, is a kind of country cousin of paella, though with long grained rice. It's also kin to jambalaya. Most Arroz con Pollo recipes include a cup of peas added at the end, though some call for green olives or mild green chiles instead.
Chicken and marinade:
2-1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1 can tomatoes (14-oz), drained with juice reserved
1 medium onion
6 more cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-3/4 cup long grain rice
2-1/2 cups water or light chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons salt
1 rough chopped red or green bell pepper
1 ripe tomato chopped
Optional: Peas (fresh, canned, or frozen)or pitted green olives or a small can of mild green chiles.
1. Marinate the chicken: Combine two tablespoons of olive oil with 3 cloves minced garlic and rub over the chicken. Let marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then remove and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
2. Brown the chicken: Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large pan with a lid. Saute the chicken until browned on all sides, working in batches as necessary. Set the chicken browned chicken aside in a warm pan.
3. While the chicken browns, puree the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and canned tomatoes in a blender or food processor.
4. In the same pan the chicken was cooked in, add oil and stir in the rice, coating grains. Stir slowly, scraping up any bits of chicken that stuck to them pan, and cook the rice on medium heat for a few minutes, until the grains begin to color. Then add the tomato-onion puree from the previous step. Stir and cook for a few minutes, then add the saffron and the chicken stock.
5. Give the pan a good stir and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as necessary. Add the chicken pieces back to the pan, nestling them down amongst the rice. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid, around 20 minutes.
6. Add fresh chopped tomato and the optional items of your choice, stir, and cover and let stand for 5 minutes.