Farm-style Chicken Dinner

To say I’m distressed right now about the fact that Chicago is on the line, a post about dinner from the other night….

I attempted “pollo criollo en czuela” with arroz amarillo, or ‘Mom’s farmstyle chicken’ & yellow rice.  The recipes are from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen, which can be found on Amazon.  What follows is how I made the dish

Pollo Criollo en Cazuela (Farmstyle Chicken)
~3lbs bone-in chicken breast, skin on
salt & pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup sour orange juice
1/4 cup pre Spanish olive oil
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup canned chicken broth
1 Tablespoon Flour
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Wash the chicken, pat it dry & paper towels, season w/ salt & pepper.  I used a food processor, but if you have, use a mortar to crush the garlic into a paste with cumin.   Rub the paste into the chicken.  Place the chicken in  a bowl, pour the orange juice over it, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight).  Mine only marinated for about 2-3 hours.

garlic & cumin

When you’re ready, remove the chicken (keep the marinade!)  and pat dry.  Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole and brown the chicken on all sides.  Add the marinade, sherry, onion, and broth.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, simmer until tender ~45 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a serving platter.  Here’s where I got messed up:  “Strain the sauce through a colander and return it with the flour to the casserole.  Cook the sauce over low heat, stirring until it has thickened 5-6 minutes, correct the seasonings, pour over the chicken and garnish with the parsley.”  What happened to the flour?  I figured the flour was to make a gravy….but the what was left over in the colander was essentially onions….so I poured the onions onto the chicken in the platter, and anything that drained from the colander was returned to the casserole, and I wisked in the flour, making a probably very unhealthy gravy.

Arroz Amarillo
1/4 cup pure Spanish olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 small green bell peppper, seeded & chopped
1 cup drained diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup chopped, drained pimientos  (I used the entire jar)
1 bay leaf ( I think I used 2 tiny ones)
2 cups raw long-grain white rice
4 cups water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bijol

In a medium-size sauce pan (4 qt minimum!) over low heat, heat the oil.  Cook the garlic, onion, & bell pepper 6-8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, sherry, pimientos, bay leaf & cook 8-10 minutes.  Increase the heat to high, add the remaining ingredients and cook, uncovered over high heat until ALL THE WATER HAS BEEN ABSORBED & SMALL CRATERS APPEAR ON TOP OF RICE, about 10-15 minutes (15 for me, sometimes longer).  Craters are key!  Once you see craters and all the water is absorbed, reduce the heat to low, stir with a fork, cover & cook for 10 minutes.  the rice should be dry and fluffy.

look for the craters

I tried taking pictures of the rice with craters, but it (obviously) didn’t come out well.  Sorry if you’ve become cross-eyed straining to find the craters…

Some notes for the rice…..Make sure you start off with a large enough pot!  I’ve made the recipe a couple of times with a pot that’s too small and had to transfer everything into a larger pot.  Bijol, or Amarillo, can be found in the spice aisle or the spanish foods aisle.  It is literally yellow coloring and used as a substitute for the more expensive saffron.  If you can’t find Bijol, the book recommends you can use 1/4 tsp powdered saffron or 3-4 saffron threads crushed.  Personally, I like the bijol for this recipe.

The dinner really was good, but I wasn’t expecting the chicken to look so pale!  Obviously I didn’t brown it enough.  That and I’m more accustomed to making “arroz con pollo” where the chicken & yellow rice cook together in one pot & the chicken takes on the yellow coloring.  I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished meal.    Next time-

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