Arroz Con Pollo (rice with chicken in Spanish), very simple but very good. Arroz con pollo is a traditional dish of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The dish, which originated in Spain as a form of pilaf, is now a staple throughout Latin America.
My recipe was given to me by my dear 91 year old Mother-in-law. She not only shared her recipe with me 7 years ago, but she walked me through it. I feel very blessed for this. I’ve made a few changes but the core was hers! It truly is so delicious! The Chocolate just pushes it over the edge! The use of achiote powder gives this dish it’s signature flavor, and the chocolate truly complements the achiote.
Achiote (Ah-chee-OH-tay) powder is made from ground achiote seeds, which are also referred to as annatto seeds (from the annatto tree). A deep brick red in color, it has a unique rich flavor: like dried chili pepper, but without the heat. On their own, these reddish-brown seeds have a woodsy aroma and a subtle earthy flavor. They also turn foods brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red depending on cooking method and other ingredients. It is used commercially to color things like butter, cheddar cheese, and even some cosmetics.
The seeds can also be simmered in oil to create brightly colored achiote oil. When ground with ingredients like garlic, vinegar, oil, and salt, it becomes achiote paste. Achiote turns up in one form or another in many major Mexican dishes, from mole sauce and tamales to certain stews and bean dishes. It can be used in a marinade or dry spice rub for grilled meat or mixed with oil to brush onto seafood.
I do get very excited about food, don’t I? Yes indeed!
ARROZ CON POLLO
8 skinless / boneless chicken thighs
6 Bullion Cubes
1 Tblsp achiote powder
Grape seed oil
1 red onions (diced small)
1 red bell peppers diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 Tblsp minced garlic
3 slices bacon
1 Tblsp cocoa
2 cups rice (long grain)
1 qt broth (from boiled chicken thighs above)
2 cups frozen peas
10 green olives
1 jar of pimentos
Bring 5 to 6 cups of water with chicken thighs to boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook thighs on simmer until done…..not falling off the bone (about 20 minutes after they reach boil).
In large heavy pot, cook bacon until crisp. Add grape seed oil if needed, then add achiote powder to pan and stir; cook a few minutes until colored. Add the chicken thighs to the oil, just long enough to absorb the achiote flavor, then add all the other ingredients EXCEPT the peas, pimento, and green olives. Bring to a boil, turn heat to simmer, simmer until the rice is done (25 minutes).
Garnish with peas, green olives and pimento.