So if you're a loyal follower, you'll know that I recently made Arroz con Pollo for Cinco de Mayo. I followed the recipe word for word (Minus saffron. Freakin' expensive.), and came out at the end with something delicious - or so I thought. As the excitement, and my plate, cooled down, I realized there were a few things I didn't like about the dish. Time to experiment!
First problem - When I reheated the meal for lunch the next day, the chicken was incredibly dry and chewy and all around yuck. I fixed this by using chicken tenders instead of full breasts, and just BARELY searing them at the beginning of cooking. Then they would later finish cooking by boiling in the rice liquid. Also, because the tenders have more surface area, more of it touched the paprika-y water and got deliciouser.
Second problem - I don't like olives. At least in here. I love olive oil and enjoy tapenade, but can't eat olives naked. And the way the recipe said to add them at the end after everything else had cooked, they hadn't melded their flavor in with the dish. I'd be eating my delicious chickeny rice and all of a sudden be slammed in the face by an olive. Yuck.
Third problem - Wine is expensive, and I don't keep it in the house all the time. Easy fix. Rice cooks at a 1:2 ratio with water (or whatever liquid), so I knew that I needed 4 cups of total liquid to 2 cups of rice. I estimated that the can of tomatoes had 1 cup, so replaced the rest of the liquid with chicken broth.
Fourth problem - or not really a problem, I just played with the spices. The original recipe called for 2 tsp of Paprika. Pshhh, that's for wusses. I upped it to nearly 1 1/2 Tablespoons, and a generous heaping of red pepper flake. I don't really do spicy, and this was enough for me to enjoy the meal with the occasional "Oh God, where is my water?!" But in an enjoyable way. Of course.
So, the new recipe, a la Jenny, who is not Mexican in any sense of the word and therefor should not be listened to but makes a mean Chicken and Rice.
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Tenders
2 Cups White Rice
1 Onion, chopped into squares (or whatever shape you want)
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped into squares (Or stars.)
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Tb Paprika
A few vigorous shakes of Red Pepper Flake
Some olive oil to make things slick
Salt and Pepper
Cover a dutch oven in olive oil, salt and pepper the chicken tenders, and quickly sear. Don't try to cook them all the way through, you actually want them pretty raw because they'll be cooking for about 20 minutes later. Remove to a plate.
Add Red Bell Pepper, Onion, and Garlic and some Salt to help the onions sweat. Let cook and brown for a while. (You know what would be really delicious? Roasting the Peppers before adding. But alas.) Then add the Rice, Paprika, and Red Pepper Flake. Stir around to make the rice delicious looking, but do not eat. Add Tomatoes and Chicken Broth. Cover and let lightly boil for 15 minutes.
It'll look kinda sticky at this point. Remove the chicken, but leave the rest on the heat to finish cooking. Shred up the chicken with two forks and return to the pot. The rice should be finished cooking. Stir everything around, remove from the heat, cover and let rest for a few minutes before attacking.
And you get this!
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