Arroz con Pollo by Charlie

mmmmmArroz con pollo is one of my favorite things to cook. This is a variation of my Abuela’s pressure cooker recipe. You get a whole meal in one pot and it’s one of those magic dishes that’s even better the next day (like lasagna). It’s ok if you don’t have a pressure cooker, just increase the rice cooking time appropriately. Thighs and drumsticks are more typical but I use a whole chicken because I like the contrast. If you’re trying to impress your new girlfriend, get some multicolored bell peppers, add diced pimientos and tell her that you used saffron.

1 4-6 lb whole chicken (or thighs and drumsticks)
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
5 oz can of tomato paste
2 bay leaves
small jar of pimiento stuffed olives
1 lb yellow rice
16 oz beer
16 oz water

Break down the chicken into drumsticks, thighs and breasts (discard the wings and carcass or save for stock). Remove the skin from the thighs and breasts (else it becomes soggy) and cut the breasts into 3-4 smaller chunks. Brown the chicken with some olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat and set aside in a bowl (don’t cook fully). Add more oil if necessary and cook the onions in the chicken juice over medium heat until translucent (5 min). Add the green pepper and cook for few more minutes. Push the pepper and onions to the side of the pot, add the garlic to the exposed bottom and cook another minute until it smells great. Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw tomato flavor. Add the water, beer, bay leaves, olives & olive juice, salt and pepper, and stir. Submerge the chicken in the pot along with any collected juice and add the rice to the spaces between the chicken. Raise the heat to high and close the lid tightly. Once the pressure cooker starts making noise, reduce the heat to med-low and set a timer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, wait for the pressure cooker to calm down, open the lid carefully and stir. The rice should be slightly wet, if it’s very wet cook uncovered for another few minutes on low, stirring regularly so the rice on the bottom doesn’t burn. Make sure you don’t drool into the pot. Enjoy!

If you’re having guests over you can do most of the cooking before they arrive and take a short break between adding the chicken and adding the rice. Go entertain your guests, just make sure you leave the pot covered on a low simmer to keep the chicken in the safe zone.

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