Then the recipeNote: The rice/water amounts and cooking timing are calculated for a specific type of rice. If you're not using the same type of rice, consult your rice's package. Consult it anyway. What the hey?
ARROZ CON POLLO
10 to 12 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
3 cups long grain rice such as Faraon or Tex-Mati.
Extra virgin olive oil
(Optional: Spanish style chorizo; linguica; pepperoni; or andouille – cut in small pieces)
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1/2 medium red or green bell pepper, sliced in “ribbons” (slightly thicker than julienne)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4-1/4 cups chicken stock
3 to 4 tbs of Pico Pica sauce.
1/4 cup dry vermouth, or dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen green peas
Sliced pimentos (to taste)
Sliced pimento stuffed green olives (to taste)
1/2 tsp achiote (aka ground annato), or 2 tsp turmeric, or 1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano, rubbed
1/2 tsp thyme
Wash and dry the chicken. Season the skin side with salt, pepper, a good quality sweet paprika, and some smoked paprika.
In a 1 cup measuring cup mix the salsa fresca or Pico Pica, with two ounces of Vermouth, the achiote (or turmeric or saffron) then fill the remainder of the measure with stock. Mix and set aside.
Heat a heavy 12" saute pan, chicken fryer, rondeau, dutch oven, or similar. Add enough olive oil and corn oil, mixed 50/50, so there's 3/8" of oil in the pan. Bring the oil to frying temperature (350F to 375F). If using, add the optional sausage to flavor the oil. Remove it as soon as it’s well browned and set aside.
Brown and partially cook the chicken pieces in the following way: Add half the seasoned thighs, skin side down. Cook until they are well browned, around 7 minutes. Turn, and cook the bone side until browned, around 5 minutes. You want the chicken more than browned -- about half cooked. Set aside on a plate and do the remaining thighs in the same way. (It's important to brown in two batches because the thighs will not brown properly in an overheated pan).
During the browning the fat from the chicken skin will render into the oil, increasing the amount. Pour some off, leaving less than 1/4" of oil/fat. Add the onions and peppers. Sauté over high heat until the peppers begin to soften, add the oregano and thyme and a little salt and pepper. Add the garlic, and toss (or stir). Before the garlic can burn, add the riice and stir to coat with oil. Stir, toss or turn the rice, until it starts to become opaque. Do not allow rice to burn or stick to the pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Tuck the bay leaves into the rice. Tuck the bay leaves into the rice. Arrange the chicken evenly on top of the rice. Add the cup of hot sauce/wine/stock mixture. Raise heat to high, and add the remaining stock. Bring to a boil uncovered. When stock boils, reduce heat to a bare simmer and cover.
Simmer for 22 minutes, exactly. (In other words, use a timer. Don't trust yourself to look at your watch!) Turn flame off, but leave covered for five minutes. Open cover, remove the chicken and set aside. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Add all the peas, most of the pimento, and most of the olives. Toss with a fork to fluff rice. Close cover and leave for another five minutes.
Add most of the parsley and toss again. Plate by mounding the rice and laying the chicken around the edges of the mound. Decorate with the reserved parsley, pimento and olives.
Serve with fried plantains, and warm tortillas or "Cuban toast." Side with a plate of sliced avocado with thinly sliced onion, dressed with oil, lemon or lime juice and salt.