The Origins of Spicy Chicken and Rice
In Spanish-speaking nations, spicy chicken and rice is also known as “Arroz with Pollo,” and it has a long, illustrious history. Its origins can be found in the various culinary customs of the Middle East, Spain, and Latin America. This recipe expertly combines the flavorful ingredients of the West with the aromatic spices of the East to produce a truly international culinary delight.
Ingredients Spicy Chicken and Rice:
- 4 halved garlic cloves
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 chicken, 3 1/2 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- 2 large poblano chiles
- 2 ounces of lean, smoky bacon, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large jalapeño, minced and seeded
- 1 1/2 cups of medium-grain Spanish rice, such as Valencia or Bomba
- 1/2 cup of dry sherry
- 1 can (14 ounces) of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, with juices reserved
- 2 cups of chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- Lime wedges, for serving
Preparation: A Step-by-Step Guide
- In a mortar, crush the garlic cloves into a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the garlic paste and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Toss to ensure the chicken is coated. Permit it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Char the poblano chiles over an open flame or under the broiler until they are charred on all sides. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them steam for 5 minutes. Remove the stems, peel the chiles, and seed them. Then, cut the chiles into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized enameled cast-iron casserole. Cook half of the chicken pieces over moderate heat until they become golden brown. Transfer them to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken.
- Add the diced bacon to the casserole and cook over low heat until the fat starts to melt, which should take about 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion and minced jalapeño, and cook while stirring until they soften, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook over moderate heat for about 3 minutes until the rice is well coated with the fat. Pour in the sherry and let it boil, stirring, until absorbed, for about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices, the poblano strips, stock, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Arrange the chicken pieces within the rice mixture, cover the casserole, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Give it 10 minutes to stand covered. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro over the dish and serve it with lime wedges.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Can I substitute brown rice for white rice to make a healthier choice?
- Absolutely! Brown rice can be a healthy substitute, albeit it could take a little longer to cook.
- If I don’t have any saffron threads on hand, what can I use instead?
- Turmeric is frequently used in place of saffron since it has a similar golden color and mild earthy flavor.
- Does Spicy Chicken and Rice include any heat?
- You can modify the amount of chili powder or omit it entirely to achieve the desired level of heat.
- Can I skip the chicken and use vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian?
- Sure, you can make a fantastic vegetarian version by excluding the chicken and adding veggie broth, along with tofu or more vegetables.
- How should I preserve spicy chicken and rice leftovers?
- For longer-term storage, freeze leftovers after placing them in an airtight container and storing them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Use the microwave or the stovetop to reheat.
Enjoy your meal!
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