Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recipes Revisited: Frantic Day, But Dinner's Ready: Arroz Con Pollo

SC and the Man are going to her school tonight so to attend <gulp> a driver's ed class she is required to take  with a parent as part of the licensing process. She doesn't even have her permit yet, but she has to take the class now, or pay for it later. And they HAVE to be there promptly by 7PM.  But I don't get home until after 6!

Usually that would mean just eating some sort of leftovers--common during our work week. But there aren't a lot of leftovers right now. First we were away late last week and then I had a lovely stomach bug. Not much cooking done. No leftovers.

So I turned to a favorite crock pot recipe, Arroz Con Pollo, which I got long ago from the Yahoo Slow Cooker Group where it was mislabeled as "paella". It's not--it's simply a basic chicken and rice dish eaten anywhere the Spanish have been.
This version is NOT Filipino, though there are many similar dishes from the Philippines. But we once took it to an "international night" at SC's school and everyone loved it!

You could pre-saute the chicken and slice the sausage for this the night before, fridge it, then throw it in the pot along with the rest of the ingredients in the morning. But I actually have <happy sigh> about 45 minutes in the morning after JR gets on her bus and I get SC to school, so I did the prep work in the morning.

Since SC and the Man will be home early, I cooked this on HIGH, went home at lunch time and did the last few steps to put this together. I also made yellow rice--I use either Goya or Mahatma brands--in the microwave. Everything is in the fridge. All they'll have to do is heat it and eat it.

Arroz Con Pollo  (Chicken and Rice)
4-5 chicken thighs, skin on (about 3 lbs)
1/2 lb turkey sausage (I use Louis Rich or Hillshire Farms. You could use any other you liked)

1 cup chopped onions (I often use the frozen or dehydrated onions for this)
3 cloves chopped garlic (fresh or jarred)
2 cups chicken broth (I use Minor's chicken base, or Better Than Chicken base)
1 pinch saffron threads (optional)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped sweet peppers,preferably several colors (frozen pepper strips are great for this)
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (drain slightly)

Optional Thickener: 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water, combined (in a cup or shake in a small jar)

Rice--white or yellow or both!

Put the chicken thighs in a cooking sprayed skillet and brown on both sides. Remove to the crock pot.I put a small metal steamer in the crock pot and put the chicken on that. It keeps the chicken above the liquid and makes it easy to remove and dice. If you don't have one that's fine, but it's really helpful.

Slice the sausage into rounds, then quarter the rounds. Add them to the chicken. If you are using fresh onion, sprinkle that over everything as well.

Drain most of the fat from the skillet and pour in the broth. Add onions (dry or frozen) and the garlic. If using saffron, add this as well. Bring the broth to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon to remove any browned bits. Pour this over the chicken. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8.

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it,bone it and cut it into bite sized pieces. Return it to the crock.
If you are using the steamer basket, scrape everything in it into the pot, then add the chicken.

Add the peas, peppers and tomatoes and let everything cook until the vegetables are thawed and cooked.

If you would like to thicken the sauce, strain out everything into a large bowl, leaving just the liquid. Add the cornstarch/water mixture, mix well and heat the sauce in the microwave for 5-10 minutes until it reaches the desired texture.

Serve with the rice!


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