Arroz con pollo is a traditional dish in Spain and many Latin American countries. It actually is quite easy to make: brown the chicken in a large frying pan, add onions for flavor, add the rice, spices, water, let it cook, leave it alone, and you are done. Pretty simple, right?
I have made this dish twice in the last month. The first time I used white rice, the second time I used brown. Both were very good, but each had its own distinct texture and taste. The brown rice grains separated more easily than the white. Brown also seemed to hold onto its own rice flavor. It got crunchier when cooked a little longer. If you like that taste of the crunchy rice from the bottom of the pan, then I'd stick with brown rice. On the other hand, the white rice melded more into the the chicken dish. It absorbed the fat from the chicken better, as well as the taste of the spices. Since it's a softer rice, it absorbed more of the water and its consistency became mushier. Not like mush, mind you, but beautifully moist. I actually preferred the white rice. I liked the texture and loved the flavor. It depends, of course, on one's personal taste preference. Both rices are good, just different.
This is a traditional dish, but I added my own personal touch, which is something I encourage! I decided to add some tumeric and cumin to the mix. Tumeric is a great, healing spice. I always try to include it in my recipes. If you don't use it that often, it has a strong, slightly bitter taste. Bitter doesn't sound that appealing, true, but it actually adds a wonderful touch when you use it in smaller doses. It also, by the way, casts a beautiful yellow tinge. Be careful, it can stain. I often combine tumeric with cumin. Cumin's earthy, warmth combined with tumeric's slight bitterness makes for a strongly flavorful combination. When using these 2 spices, always start with less; too much of either can overpower a dish.
Now let's talk chicken. If you like your chicken on the crispy side, you can brown it a little longer than specified. When you put the chicken and rice all together to cook, the fat from the chicken drips into the rice, adding a tremendous amount of flavor. By the way, you can make this dish with skinless chicken and it comes out very well. Just be careful that you watch the time and the water absorption so the chicken doesn't burn. Chicken without skin can dry out quicker than chicken with skin.
Hope you enjoy this chicken. Try it for Shabbos--it's a delicious, full meal and just a little different from the usual fare.
Spanish Chicken and Rice (Arron con Pollo)
4 chicken leg quarters
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup rice
1 tsp each: tumeric, cumin and onion powder
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large frying pan, add a Tbsp. of oil, or grease with cooking spray. Add the chicken when the oil is hot. Cook until the skin is a nice, light brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Place onions in the pan. When the onions are starting to brown, add the rice. Cook until rice is browned.
3. Put chicken back in the pan on top of the rice. Add the tumeric, cumin and onion powder on top of the chicken and let some of the spices fall onto the rice.
4. Add water and cover. Let cook 35 - 40 minutes or until rice is fluffy and chicken is ready. Add salt and pepper to the rice and mix.