Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pseudo Arroz con Pollo (Cuban style)

I was going to buy chicken breasts and use the avocado I had I gotten at the store. However, I suffered from slight sticker shock at the grocery store and decided to go with boneless, skinless thighs instead. Upon returning home and finding a recipe, I discovered I could have gotten plain old, bone-in thighs.

This was a good recipe. I must admit that my ratios were all screwed up. I learned that 4 1/2 pounds of bone in thighs are equal to 2 pounds of boneless, skinless thighs. I halved the marinade when I should have made a full batch. Next time, I will follow the recipe and seasoning ratios more carefully. I liked the dish, but it definitely had room for improvement.

Overall, everyone like it. M liked the chicken better, J liked the rice better. Curtis and I thought it was all tasty.

Cuban-Spiced Chicken Thighs with Rice
adapted from Bon Appetit

Chicken and Marinade
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1/4 c fresh cilantro stems, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T finely grated lime peel (or 1 T lime juice)
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
2 t jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 t Hungarian sweet paprika
2 t ground black pepper
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
10 chicken thighs (2 pounds if boneless, skinless, 4 1/2 lbs with skin and bone)

Optional chorizo......
1 T olive oil
1/2 lb fully cooked Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4" thick rounds

2 c onions, finely chopped
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 c arborio rice (or short grain white rice)
2 1/2 c (or more) chicken broth
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 t Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 t saffron threads

1 canned piquillo pepper or 1 whole canned pimiento, cut into thin strips

1/2 c fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
lime wedges

Whisk marinade ingredients (except chicken) in a bowl. Place chicken in large ziploc type bag and add marinade. Seal bag and turn several times to coat chicken. Refrigerate chicken at least 4 hours and up to 1 day, turning bag occasionally. Using tongs, transfer chicken from bag to plate, allowing excess marinade to drip back into bag. Reserve marinade.

Heat 1 T oil in large pot over medium heat. If using chorizo (I skipped this entire step), add and saute until beginning to brown and fat renders, about 3 minutes. Remove from pot. Increase heat to medium high. Brown chicken in pot, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Pour all but 3 T fat from pot (discard excess fat). Add onions, saute 4 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add bell pepper and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 2 more minutes. Mix in rice, stirring to blend with vegetables. Add 2 2/1 c broth, tomatoes with any juice, paprika, and saffron. Add a little water to marinade bag and add leftover marinade. Bring to a boil, stirring to blend. Return chicken, chorizo, and any accumulated juices to pot, pressing chicken partially into rice. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Arrange piquillo pepper strips over chicken pieces. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and chicken is cooked, adding broth by 1/4 c if rice is dry, about 10 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, transfer rice and chicken to shallow bowl. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

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