Arroz con Pollo (Peruvian-style Chicken and Rice) and Herby Roasted Potatoes

There seem to be endless versions of this well-known dish. So no surprise, Perú has it’s own version which gets its principle flavor and color from cilantro. Normally this is served with an onion-aji amarillo-lime salsa, but I was too lazy and also didn’t think the fresh onions would go over well with the students. (I don’t think it would have mattered; they scraped the pot clean—I guess they liked it!)

This turned out so great! I love learning new dishes to cook when I am abroad and am always really excited to try it out at home. However, often my version never tastes quite the same. The source of the ingredients is different and sometimes, as was the case this time, you have to substitute less common ingredients with ones you have around the house. The aji amarillo chiles are really important for an authentic flavor, so I was worried about how my version would turn out. Luckily, though, it came out great. Actually, I think it was the lime that saved it. So, definitely don’t forget the lime!

Enjoy!

Arroz con Pollo

Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

Arroz con Pollo:

1 1/2 lbs. chicken pieces (I only had chicken breast on hand, but dark meat is tastier, i.e. more tender)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped finely

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into small cubes

olive oil

1 bunch cilantro, stalks trimmed

5 aji amarillo, deseeded, deveined and roughly chopped (Use a spoon to clean the chiles—they’re hot! This time, I didn’t have any, so used mild yellow chiles, plus ca. 1 tsp cayenne)

1/2 bottle of beer, preferably dark

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups rice, well-rinsed

3-4 cups water, divided (my guesstimate)

1/2 cup frozen or canned peas (In Perú they use fresh)

1/2 cup fresh hominy corn (I didn’t have this, so left it out. You could put regular yellow or white in, however.)

juice of 1 lime

Herby Roasted Potatoes:

5 medium to large size baking potatoes (I used russets), scrubbed but not peeled and diced into large pieces

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dried oregano

3-4 tbsp olive oil (or more—it should be generous enough to completely coat the potatoes)

METHOD

For the chicken and rice:

  1. Pat the chicken dry; season with salt and pepper. Then in a large stockpot, brown the pieces in a little olive oil, in batches if necessary. (If you overcrowd the pot, the chicken won’t brown properly.) Remove and set aside. Also empty pot of excess grease.
  2. In your blender, liquidize the cilantro and aji (or in my case, mild yellow peppers), adding 1 cup of water to help in the process. Set aside.
  3. In the same pot used to fry the chicken, fry the onion, garlic and carrots until just golden. Pour in the cilantro-aji liquid and the beer. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to half. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting
  4. Put the chicken back into the pot, cover and simmer until cooked. Remove and set aside. (I deviated from the traditional method here in that I added a little more water to the pot and allowed the meat to braise for 2 hours. As I only had chicken breast, I wanted to tenderize the meat a bit more.)
  5. Add the rinsed rice, the remaining 2-3 cups and salt to the water to the pot and increase the heat, bringing the liquid to a boil. The liquid should taste salty. (I also added the cayenne at this point.) Once boiling, reduce the heat once again to the lowest setting and cover. Allow to cook for ca. 20 minutes or until almost cooked. (I did this differently as well by keeping the chicken in the pot and allowing it to cook with the rice.)
  6. Once the rice is just cooked, stir in the peas and corn. Replace the cover for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables are warmed through.
  7. Just before serving, season for salt and pepper and then optionally, squeeze into the pot the juice of 1 lime. Or you can just serve lime wedges with the meal, which is how is normally done.

For the herby roasted potatoes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
  3. Remove and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

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Comments

  • Leah  On May 31, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Muy delicioso! This was shared and created by the Little Baker herself! But here in AZ, in MY kitchen even. So wonderful. So comforting. Muchisimas gracias, panadera pequena.

    • Theresa  On May 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

      De nada, guapita!! Qué bueno que te gustó!

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