Most of my childhood memories of meals revolve around chicken.
Truth be told though, it’s probably more based on a compilation of chicken dishes that my mom knew my sister and I would eat, and childhood fallacies that all meat “is chicken”.
On any given Monday or Wednesday night, chicken was a usual suspect for dinner. And to be quite honest, I don’t blame my mom for choosing chicken as a go-to. It’s relatively inexpensive, cooks up fast, and if cooked correctly…downright delicious! Among the many favorite ways my sister and I loved eating our mom’s chicken was in her version of Arroz Con Pollo.
My mom’s Arroz Con Pollo (also known as “Green Chicken and Rice” by the non-spanish speakers of the household), was a weeknight dinner staple growing up, and still stands as a family favorite. The bright flavors of the cilantro paired with the smokiness in the cumin, makes this chicken dish a step above your ordinary weeknight chicken. It’s relatively quick to prepare, and it’s all cooked in one pot! Who doesn’t love a dinner that doesn’t demand a big clean up?
Muchas Gracias Mom!
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups white rice (I used jasmine)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups of beer
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 white onions (chopped)
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 cup frozen mixed veggies
- 3 tbsp. ground cumin
- 3 tbsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. ground pepper
Start by pouring your beer into a large cup, where the beer can settle and flatten. This part is crucial since we will be blitzing it up in a blender! Trust me…my kitchen has seen one too many carbonated explosions to tell the tale!
Once your beer is somewhat flat, add your cilantro, garlic and beer into a blender or food processor. You don’t have to use all your beer in your blender (to avoid carbonated messes). Just use enough to get the cilantro and garlic moving in the blending process. I used my NutriBullet Blender for the following reasons:
- Due to lack of storage space, I don’t own a blender
- Due to extreme laziness, I didn’t want to break out my food processor that feels like it uses a ton of pieces! (it’s probably more like three pieces…but it still feels like a hundred)
- My NutriBullet blender is like a tiny kitchen ninja that can demolish anything in 5 seconds flat!
Blend your cilantro, garlic, and beer until the cilantro and garlic are finely blended. Let the mixture sit. It will look like a strange green beer….
Take your chicken pieces…
I cheated and bought mine already cut. You can easily cut your whole chicken into sections, but when the grocery store has it all laid out for you in a pretty packaged container, it’s hard to say no.
Season your chicken generously with salt, pepper, and cumin.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat your olive oil over a medium-high flame.
Add your chicken pieces a few at a time (careful not to crowd the pot), and let the chicken brown. We aren’t going to cook the chicken at this point, but simply lock in those delicious juices and give the chicken a fabulous golden brown coating.
Remove the browned chicken and set aside on a plate.
In the same pot, add your diced onions with a little bit of the beer mixture. Stir up the bottom of the pot to release the bits of browned chicken.
Let the onions cook for about a minute in the beer, and then add the remaining beer mixture, rice, and frozen veggies. I also like to add more salt, pepper, and cumin at this point.
Bring to a boil, and then add your chicken pieces on top.
Cover with a lid and turn down the heat to a low simmer.
Allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. As much as you are tempted, do not remove the lid to check on your arroz con pollo. The lid traps the heat and steam, which allows the rice to cook properly.
Once your timer goes off, remove the lid. There might be some remaining liquid at the top of the mixture, but rest assured that once mixed together and slightly cooled off, the rice will absorb the rest of the liquid.
This meal is one of my childhood favorites and I hope that you too get to share this with your family and loved ones!
I might have even shared some pollo with this loved one!
*All photos courtesy of Jacqueline Siobhan Photography