Recipes

Chicken and Rice

Anya Von Bremzen

"Paladares"

Megan Fawn Schlow

"Paladares"

“A flamboyant Latin-American answer to the Spanish paella, the festive one-pot treat known as arroz con pollo is adored across Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean. This Cuban iteration was a famous late-nineteenth-century dish served at Casa Arana, a stately restaurant located at the mouth of the Almendares River near Havana’s emblematic seventeenth-century Chorrera Tower. According to novelists and historians, the chicken rice named after the tower was a big hit among Spanish colonial officers in the last dying days of Spain’s reign over Cuba. Now often resurrected at restaurants and eaten at homes for a late Sunday lunch, the deliciously soupy arroz features chicken and medium-grain Valencia- type rice brightened with saffron. It is moistened with broth, wine, and always a splash of Cuban beer, and decorated with peas and strips of roasted red pepper. What a great dish to bring to a potluck!” —Anya Von Bremzen and Megan Fawn Schlow in their 2018 Beard Award–nominated Paladres.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 
  • 1/3 cup sour orange juice, or an equal mix of lime and orange juice 
  • 1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 1/4 cup annatto oil 
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion 
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomato 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 6 cups chicken stock or water 
  • 3 cups medium-grain white rice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled 
  • 1/2 cup lager-style beer 
  • One 10-ounce box thawed frozen peas 
  • 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons capers in brine 

Method

In a large bowl, combine the chicken thighs, sour orange juice, minced garlic, cumin, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator. 

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. In
a large, wide pot, heat the annatto oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, for 7 to 8 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. 

In the same pot, combine the onion, green pepper, and red pepper and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomato and white wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to cook off the alcohol a bit. Pour in 2 cups of the stock and return the chicken to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Add the rice and saffron and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Pour in another 2 cups of the stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 7 to 8 minutes. 

Add the final 2 cups of the stock and the beer and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the peas, roasted red pepper, and capers. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. 

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Adapted from Paladares (Abrams Books, 2017).
 

Yield

10 servings