Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weeknight Arroz Con Pollo

Anytime a recipe title says "Weeknight", it's a signal that the recipe should be quick and tasty AND flexible-- something that can be put together after you come home from work.  It shouldn't take particularly special ingredients, and it's really good if you can make lots of substitutions so you don't have to go to the grocery store on the way home!  (I LOVE going to the grocery store and even I don't much like doing that at the end of a long day.....Sometimes I do and in fact, sometimes it re-energizes me!-- but I digress....)
This recipe for Arroz Con Pollo meets all the "Weeknight" recipe criteria.  It uses everyday ingredients, putting it together is a snap, and it is a very tasty rendition of the traditional Mexican chicken and rice dish.  Ordinarily, I like to put chiles in it (Hatch, poblano, or jalapenos), but this time I didn't because Ben had some tummy trouble a few days ago and I didn't want to aggravate anything!  
If you don't have a particular ingredient, feel free to substitute!  Really, the only thing you HAVE to have for Arroz con Pollo is the arroz (rice) and the pollo (chicken)!

Weeknight Arroz Con Pollo (serves 3-4)
1 lb. chicken tenders, or breasts, or thighs  
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1, 4oz. can sliced pimentos (this you might not have, but you can use chopped green pepper, or the above suggested chiles)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup sliced olives (black, green, Kalamata, plain or fancy-- whatever you have)
1 can chicken stock diluted to make 2.5 cups liquid, or all chicken stock if you have it            (if you don't have stock, use part white wine and water, or just water)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 cup frozen peas or baby lima beans

In a big non-stick skillet, put in about 2 Tbl. olive oil.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and brown quickly on both sides, but don't cook through.  Remove to a plate.  Add a bit more oil if necessary, the chopped onion, mushrooms, and garlic.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute over medium heat until fragrant.  Add the white rice.  Allow to cook further, stirring once in awhile, until the rice browns a little and the mixture smells really good!
Put the chicken back in along with the olives and pimientos.  Pour in the chicken stock carefully-- it might go crazy because of the hot rice.  Sprinkle the peas or limas over all.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium-low heat.  Stir around fairly well.  Cover and cook another 5-10 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.  

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