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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cuban Chicken and Rice


  Cuban Chicken and Rice 
  Originally uploaded by Foodmomiac.

Hey! A dinner! From my kitchen! Miracle of miracles...

Thanks to my mom, the apartment is pretty much all set. We have to get the master bathroom in order, and I'll need to spend some time getting my home office organized, but other than that, we are good to go!

Dylan started school on Wednesday, we have a nanny for Max, and I am ready to get into a regular schedule with work and blogging and life in general. Damn, this moving stuff takes a lot out of a person.

Dyl helped me do some spice organization this morning before school, and she expressed an interest in a rice dish. She wanted me to use curry powder, but the most intruiging recipe I found was Cuban, not Indian. It is from a cookbook that I have had for about 10 years but have never used. It's called Pilaf, Risotto, and other ways with Rice, and the author is Sada Fretz.

Fretzh points out in the recipe notes that this is not the standard Cuban Chicken and Rice. It is a special version created for entertaining. I had a tough time with this recipe, and I'm not certain if the problem was the recipe itself or the fact that I am not yet used to our new stove. The chicken needed to be cooked longer than called for, as did the rice. Also, the recipe was very fussy, with multiple steps. As my mom pointed out, this would be a good recipe to prepare ahead and then reheat. By the time I had everything layered in the dish, it was lukewarm.

All that said, this was really yummy. Dylan and Max both loved it, as did my mom. Michael liked it too, but thought the capers seemed out of place. (He's a fussy one ,that husband of mine.)

Here's the recipe as printed with ample notes from me:

Arroz con Pollo II - Cuban Chicken and Rice
Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces (I used 6 thighs)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped small
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons bijol (I didn't have this Cuban coloring agent, so I used a healthy pinch of Spanish saffron)
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 cup beer, at room temperature (I used Goose Island 312 - a really delicious wheat beer made just a mile or two from our apartment.)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I know - but it works)
18 to 20 large green Spanish olives, sliced (I'd use more next time - maybe 30)
1 roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas, cooked

Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet (I used my Le Creuset braiser). Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, then add to skillet and cook, turning to brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and turning golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to pan. Add 2 cups steaming-hot water, the bijol (or saffron), and more salt and pepper if deesired. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer about 20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and set aside.

Bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and cook until water disappears, about 10 or 15 minutes. Add the beer, replace cover, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes, until rice is done and no liquid remains in the bottom of the pan.

Whilte rice is cooking, tear the chicken meat from the bones and shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones. (After I did this, I placed the shredded meat in the oven for about 10 minutes because it wasn't quite done.)

To serve, lay down a third of the rice in a flat baking dish. Cover with a third of the mayonnaise, then all of the chicken; half the remaining rice; half the remaining mayonnaise; half the olives, red pepper strips, and capers; the remaining rice; the remaining mayonnaise; the remaining olives, red pepper, and capers; and the cooked peas.

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