Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Mexican Arroz con Pollo
In my twenties, I started really experimenting with what I ate at Mexican restaurants. My go to dishes of the chile relleno-enchilada-tamale combination, chile verde, chorizo & eggs, chile Colorado, taquitos, nachos, fajitas and carnitas had become old. I discovered Mexican arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), most of the versions I have had included mushrooms. It became a regular dish. It typically is chicken, rice, onion, tomatoes, peppers (spicy and mild), and mushrooms. There is a sauce that is somewhat between a ranchero sauce and an enchilada sauce.
I call this Mexican Arroz con Pollo, because almost every Latino/ Hispanic culture has a version of this dish. It is a descendant of the Spanish Paella. Unlike Paella, Arroz con Pollo and its related dish Arroz con Camerones (rice with prawns/shrimp) only have one protein. Paella has multiple varieties of seafood, chicken, chorizo (the Spanish variety) and sometimes ham. The main difference in the Mexican variety versus others is the use of the spicier varieties of chiles or peppers.
On June 19, 2016, I finally made this from scratch. I had a few substitutions. I used chipotle powder instead of cayenne and at a slightly less amount. I had some left over piquillo peppers that I used instead of red bell peppers. Piquillos are typically pickled and are sweet. I also did not have nor could afford the saffron it called for, so used my annatto oil. Annatto oil is a typical substitute for saffron found in Latin American cooking. I also added some fresh chopped jalapeños. I topped it off with Mexican blend cheese.
I did cook it a little too long, but other than that is was great. Like the Pollo con Crema, I am going to try to make this at home rather than order this at a restaurant again. It had a bit of a kick in the finish. If I wanted less kick I would use Ortega mild green chiles or Anaheim chiles and a milder chile powder, like ancho or a mild guajillo. With my job cooking as an in home caregiver, I am learning how to tone down dishes for people unable to eat spicier foods. Overall this was a great experience.