I caught up with my pal, Bay Area Violinist, Anthony Blea to see where he's playing and to ask him his favorite dish. To know Blea is to enjoy some great music, a cold beer, and some really good downhome food. I asked him what his favorite dish is, and hands down he said, "Arroz Con Pollo" with Yellow Rice from Chino Cubano Restaurant in New York City. I have provided a recipe for you below, in case you want to cook and see what Anthony is talking about.
You can catch Anthony Blea y su Charanga playing March 19 at the Seahorse in Sausalito with an All-Star Afro Cuban Line Up Celebrating KPFA
and KPOO Radio Host and my absolute favorite DJ Jose Ruiz Birthday!
Cuban Arroz Con Pollo Recipe
Bone-in chicken thighs – Can you use chicken drumsticks or chicken breast? Of
course, you can! You can pretty much use any type of chicken for this recipe but chicken thighs are the most flavorful in my opinion - I always use dark meat, whenever possible for the richer flavor!
Red bell pepper.
Long-grain white rice.
Annatto powder, Bijol, or turmeric. Any of these can be used to color the rice.
Bay leaf, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper.
Season the chicken thighs. First, pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel then season with salt, pepper, and cumin.
Brown the chicken. In a Dutch oven or large pot with a heavy bottom and a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown both sides of the chicken. Transfer to a plate.
Sauté the aromatics. In the same pot, add the remaining olive oil and sauté onion, garlic, and red pepper until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
Add the rice, spices, and chicken. You then add the rice, chicken stock, tomato sauce, annatto powder, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then add the chicken thighs to the mixture.
Cook low and slow. Cover the pot or dutch oven with the lid and reduce heat to LOW. Cooking low and slow will ensure you don’t burn the rice. Every stove cooks differently so after 40 minutes, take a peek and see if the liquid has been absorbed. If yes, remove the pot from the heat immediately so it doesn’t continue to cook with the residual heat. If the liquid is not yet absorbed, continue to cook in 5-minute increments until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the pot from the heat.
Fluff + serve! Fluff the rice with a fork then stir in the frozen peas until warm. YUM.