It’s been rainy and cold in Los Angeles the past week and obviously I have loved every second of it. It’s been glorious to put on a big sweater and cook some food. This has been on my list to make because it’s so good and cozy. And yes, I will admit that it’s not the most photogenic food but whatever. It’s rice and chicken!
This differs a lot from your typical arroz con pollo. The mixture that makes it green is a big bunch of cilantro, garlic, onion, jalapeño and stock all blended in a blender. This makes a delicious, flavorful broth mixture that is combined with the rice. This is what makes it super delicious and flavorful. It tastes bright and earthy and spicy.
The spice definitely chills out as it cooks with the rice. The chicken is so good and falls off the bone. The little guy on top is killer. It’s called Salsa Criolla and my mom used to make it when we were eating really boring things like lentils or beans. It transforms anything that might be a bit mundane and not so flavorful. Lucky for us, the rice is flavorful and then you add this and it adds even more flavor. It’s amazing.
Over the holiday break, my mom made it and we put it on tamales. It’s really the best thing ever and deserves its place on nearly everything.
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch of cilantro leaves
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 3 cups of chicken stock or water, divided
- 2 bone-in thighs
- 3 bone-in drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup rice
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Juice from 2 limes
- 1/2 jalapeño, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- To a blender, add the onion, garlic cloves, cilantro, jalapeño, cumin, paprika and about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Pulse until completely smooth. It will smell crazy spicy—don’t worry! It’ll mellow out as it cooks. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the chicken with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. If you have a screen guard for the pot, use it because the oil may jump out of the pot. Flip the chicken, using tongs, and cook on opposite side until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. You want to practically cook it all the way through. Remove the chicken and transfer to a plate or cutting board.
- To the pot, add the rice and toast it for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Next, pour in the cilantro mixture. And then pour in about an additional cup of broth/water. Place chicken atop of rice mixture. Bring the pot to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for about 45 to 50 minutes, and until rice is tender. Note: Throughout the cooking process, I checked on it every 15-20 minutes or so and topped it off with about 1/4 cup of stock each time, if needed. In the end, I added 3 cups of chicken stock total. Also, in the last 15 minutes, I salted to taste, adding about 1 teaspoon more of salt.
- To a medium bowl, mix together the red onion, juice from 2 limes, jalapeño and minced cilantro. Add a few pinches of salt and let marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes. Give it a taste just before serving and adjust the salt to your liking.
- Divide the arroz con pollo amongst bowls and top with a spoonful of salsa criolla.