Thursday, August 31, 2006

Arroz con Pollo/Tico Style Chicken ‘N Rice

Servings: about 6-8 large servings

This is the comfort food of Latin America. The people of La Florida will tell you that it not only tastes good, but also makes you feel strong and healthy. If I were to pick one dish to represent the people of Costa Rica, this would be it. The secret is the chicken broth. The stronger, more intense the broth, the better, so I would make a double stock (make one stock and then make another with the liquid from the first, reducing it carefully to pull out as much flavor as you can). If you do not have the time to roast a chicken, get a rotisserie chicken from your local grocer. It is a great way to save time and it works perfectly! The secret to this recipe is the salt. Don’t add any until the end. With all the reducing of liquids in this recipe, you want to make sure it isn’t too salty in the beginning.

8 cups double chicken stock
1 whole roasted chicken, bones included
1 onion, large dice
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into large pieces or whole
3 tomatoes, diced
½ cup chopped celery
4 bay leaves
Cracked black pepper
1 whole jalapeno

1 cup dry white rice
1 cup queso fresco
1 bunch scallions, sliced


Cover the cooked chicken in the strong double broth. Add the carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil. Throw away any foam that may form.

As soon as it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for almost 3 hours, uncovered.

After the second hour of cooking, remove all the bones from the soup or at least as many as you can. Throw the bones away. Stir in 1-cup dry rice and let simmer in the broth until plump. Stir it a few times so that the rice doesn’t clot. Adjust the salt if needed.

When the rice is cooked, ladle portions of the rice and chicken mixture into bowls. Make sure you get lots carrot pieces and liquid in each bowl.

Garnish with crumbled queso fresco and sliced scallions.

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