HEARTY CHICKEN WITH GREEN CORIANDER RICE AND VEGETABLES.
As soon as I opened my eyes this morning, I felt a sudden craving for Arroz con Pollo. Every time I was out of the country on holidays with my family, the first lunch we had, back in Peru, was Causa and Arroz con Pollo. There is something satisfying and comforting about it that makes us feel at home.
Peruvians are extremely fond of rice in general. We have many rice dishes, and this cereal is the most popular garnish along with potatoes, standing at the side of every dish. We love it! Arroz con Pollo is one of our all-time favorite rice dishes. It´s enjoyed freshly made or after a few days in the fridge, with or without chicken, with Salsa Criolla, Salsa Huancaina, or a fried egg on top, or any possible way really.
The dish is colored green with the cilantro, but there are versions in other parts of the country that have different colors: red (with aji panca or achiote) yellow (with native saffron from the North of Peru), or almost white. I like mine very green because I love cilantro, but in cooking school I learned to combine cilantro with spinach leaves to enhance the color. It works. I also learned to cook the rice alone, instead of cooking it in the green stock along with the chicken and vegetables, and have been preparing it this way since then. However, it is a matter of personal taste, and whatever you choose its amazing taste is guaranteed.
Beer is optional, and even though I am not a beer drinker, I think that it gives the dish a depth of flavor that is very appealing. Of course, you can substitute with white wine or Chicha de Jora, if you find it in Latino supermarkets. Otherwise, go with beer or use only chicken stock.
Many years ago, I started to cook with skinless chicken, mainly for health reasons but specially because my picky children hated the skin, but in order to have succulent and moist meat, it is a good idea to leave the skin on. You can remove it later if you want.
Here you have the recipe for a classic Arroz con Pollo. Enjoy it, and stay tuned for new and exciting recipes!
- 2 cups white rice
- 4 chicken legs
- 1 cup beer (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- ½ cup aji amarillo, diced (optional)
- 1 cup onion, diced
- ¾ cup cilantro leaves
- 4 spinach leaves
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¼ cup green peas
- ¼ cup carrots, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, in slices
- 1 cup corn (We use Peruvian Giant Corn, which you can find frozen at Latino grocery stores, but you can use any corn).
- *Cook the rice as usual and reserve.
- *Process the cilantro and spinach leaves in a blender with 2 tablespoons water. Reserve.
- *Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat, add the chicken, and cook until it has a beautiful golden color, 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover and reserve.
- *In the same pan saute the onion, garlic and Aji Amarillo, stirring for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the cilantro and spinach leaves mixture, beer, chicken stock, and the chicken pieces.
- *Cook 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 10 minutes longer. Add green peas, carrots, red bell pepper, corn, and cook 10 more minutes.
- *Add rice, stir very well, and serve with Salsa Criolla.