The coaches of the Landmark Education Introduction Leaders Program were coming over for a party. It was time to celebrate what we have created together and the difference we have made in causing Bold Leaders.
This is a group who loves and respects one another, but we are a diverse group of Mexican, Indian, African, Jewish and very mixed descent. All that holds us together is the commitment we have had together and the work we have done.
Danielle doesn’t eat gluten. Alan doesn’t eat pork.
The answer: Arroz con Pollo. Arroz Con Pollo (chicken and rice) is a Latin American staple. It probably originated in Spain as a kind of pilaf and included saffron. When it emigrated to the New World, native peppers were added to create what we now think of as a traditional Latin sofrito. In our case we used red and green peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes and jalapeno for just a little kick.
Now let me warn you, Fellow FoodBeest, this makes a LOT of Arroz Con Pollo. We increased the recipe to feed all the people we were serving, but I’ve never seen anything like this. I prepared the recipe most of the way, but wanted to finish it just before we ate it. I used an 8-qt. stock pot, foolishly thinking it was sufficient.
Holy Arroz, Batman, was I wrong!
As I was heating up the Arroz Con Pollo just before the guests arrived, I glanced over and noticed that the lid of the stock pot was now balanced about a half-inch above the top of the pot.
I called Mr. FB to come quick and see this and by the time he arrived, the food had pushed the lid a good five inches above the rim of the pot, where it sat, the yellow rice, chicken and peppers cheerfully peeking above the rim and hovering dangerously over the burner as the rice just kept absorbing the broth and sauce.
We stopped it just in time.
In keeping with the theme, we served our Arroz Con Pollo with fried plantains. And Juan’s guacamole and ceviche. And kale and spinach salads. And there were plenty of tequila shots to go around. Plenty of tequila shots, Fellow FoodBeest. And hot-hot-hot salsa dancing to boot.
What You Need to Make Arroz con Pollo
2 T kosher salt
2 t garlic powder
1 t ground cumin
2 t onion powder
1 t smoked paprika
2 t freshly ground black pepper
2 t ground turmeric
2 t dried oregano
4 chicken thighs, with skin, cut in half
8 chicken drumsticks
1 large sweet onion
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 to 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
4 cloves finely chopped
3 C long-grain rice [I used basmati]
4 3/4 C chicken stock
3/4 C beer
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas [do not thaw]
1 small jar pimento
3/4 C pitted green olives
2 T pitted and chopped green olives
Freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
Fresh lime juice
How You Make Arroz Con Pollo
Mix together the salt, granulated garlic, cumin, granulated onion, paprika, black pepper, turmeric and oregano in a small bowl. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then season with the adobo seasoning mixture.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Place the chicken in the oil skin side down, in batches, if necessary, and sauté until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook until the second side is golden brown. Remove the chicken to into a separate pot, cover and allow to cook through and keep warm.
Create a sofrito by finely chopping the onion, red and green pepper and the jalapeno by pulsing in a food processor. This will take just a few pulses. Be sure to not let it run long enough so that it is chopped finely, but does not turn into a paste.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan and place back over high heat. Add the sofrito of onions, green and red peppers and cook until soft. Add the tomato and garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add the rice to the pan, stir to coat the rice in the mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock beer, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes add the peas to the pot, cover and continue cooking until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let sit 5 minutes covered. Remove the lid, fluff the rice and gently fold in the olives, cilantro, parsley, oregano and top with a squeeze of lime juice.
This was a keeper.