Arroz con Pollo (Chicken with rice) can be prepared many ways, from a Spanish take, to a Mexican one. Kind of like Pad Thai really, where you have to ask “what is authentic?”. What I was going for in my version, was for it to taste similar to what a local Mexican restaurant serves. Theirs comes piled high on a platter, on top of a corn tortilla (soaks up the juices), with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, cheese and pico de gallo on the side, and a smattering of flour tortillas for wrapping it up into. It is messy, 4 napkin messy. Oil running down your hands. Really bad for you. Salty, fatty, and yeah, so good.
So I went into this recipe thinking about how I’d make mine similar, but better for us. Just with lots of flavor still!
Arroz con Faux-Pollo
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 14 ounce bag bell pepper strips, or 3 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 4-ounce can fire roasted chiles, mild or spicy
- 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 4 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- ½ cup grated Jack or Mexi-cheese
- 1 package Gardein faux-chicken or similar
Set faux-chicken on counter to rest.
Mix cumin, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl, remove 2 tsp to a second small bowl. In the first bowl, mix in the chili powder and onion powder.
Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high. Melt butter, add in onion and bell peppers, cook till tender. Add in garlic, cook for a minute. Add in the first bowl of spices (the one with chili powder and onion powder). chiles, tomatoes, broth and rice. Bring to a boil over high, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, take the remaining spice mix, open chicken bag and shake in. Seal bag and shake gently to coat chicken. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high, add in a Tablespoon olive oil and chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken, chop up.
The dish will appear to still have a lot of liquid, stir well and turn off heat. Stir in chicken and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover for a few minutes, then stir in.
Serves 4 to 6.