Colombian Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)
Everyone makes arroz con pollo a little bit differently—some people add tomatoes, some shred the chicken while others leave it in whole pieces and so on and so forth. This is my Colombian grandmother’s recipe. If you can, make it one day in advance of when you want to serve it, cool, refrigerate overnight and reheat before serving. The flavors meld, and it tastes even better the next day, but if you can’t wait, that’s okay, too!
- 1 whole chicken, cut up into 8-10 small to medium pieces, plus 2 breasts, bone and skin on
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 2 medium or 1 large yellow onion
- 1 bunch green onions
- 4 large carrots
- 4 stalks celery
- 1½ green peppers
- 10-12 ounces capers
- 1 cup pimento olives, halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon turmeric (for color)
- 3 cups white rice
- Rub the chicken pieces with mustard. Dice onion and chop green onion. Dice the celery, carrots and green pepper, and set aside 1 cup for later. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add onion, green onion, celery, carrots, green pepper and half of both the capers and chopped olives.
- Add chicken pieces in one layer, salt and pepper, cumin and turmeric. Stir quickly and then cover to braise, until chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on sizes of pieces. Remove the cooked chicken and set aside on a plate. Turn off heat.
- Strain out cooked vegetables and collect the liquid. Press the vegetables lightly to get out as much liquid as possible. Measure the amount of liquid and add enough water so that you have 5¼ cups of liquid in total. Add the liquid, cooked vegetables and rice back to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook uncovered over high heat until water is absorbed. Then stir, cover, turn heat to low and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- While rice is cooking, shred the chicken into small pieces, removing bones and skin. (Alternatively, if you prefer, you can leave the chicken in large pieces with bone on—remove skin.)
- When rice is ready, uncover, stir in reserved raw vegetables, remaining capers and olives and shredded chicken. (If you left the chicken in large pieces, lay them on top of the rice.) Cover and leave over low heat for about 10 to 15 additional minutes to warm through.