Arroz con Que?

It’s been a while since I’ve made this.  Perhaps years.  Even as I began cooking more things at home I still avoided it, mainly because it’s always been an unpredictable hit or miss for me whenever I tried.  But, I told myself that if I just keep it simple, maybe the outcome won’t be so bad.

How bad can it get?  Well, from one extreme to the other.  It was either too mushy or too dry and so my failed attempts were dubbed Pudín de Arroz and Arroz con Seco, respectively.  In fact, I can create a whole printed menu of all my disasters (just for laughs) that involve much more than just chicken, folks.   On this day however, I was enthusiastic because a boneless breast means it’ll get done faster and that’s always an incentive.  Eventually, I’ll attempt bone-in for all that natural broth flavor but I’m just not ready to go down that road yet.

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So, here’s what I used instead:

  • 1 Boneless Chicken Breast (cut into small pieces)
  • Chopped onion (small)
  • Crush garlic cloves (2-3 or more)
  • Seasoning Packet of Sazón with achiote
  • Sofrito (2 or so tablespoons)
  • Seasoning Packet of Ham flavor (wish I had diced ham instead)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Canola Oil
  • Sliced Spanish Olives (5-6 worked for me)
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 Cups rice (I used medium grain)

Now, I am aware that during my trial run this time around I have managed to skip spices and other ingredients that are typically added.  These might include cumin, dried oregano, capers, tomato, roasted red peppers, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.  It wasn’t deliberate but rather, simply due the fact that I’m out of practice, as well as, forgetful. By the way, I’m not sure how necessary it is to add tomato sauce.  If you think it is, elaborate in your comments.

In any case, I diced the breasts in small pieces and seasoned to my liking (salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder) and seared them until golden in a bit of Canola oil.  I set them aside and covered while in same pan I added the sofrito, onion and fresh garlic until fragrant.  I  then added the seasoning packets, olives and returned the chicken.  I opted for mainly stock in place of water and then a bit more oil and salt.

All of the above is on medium to high heat.  Once it reaches a boil, I add the rice.  After the water begins to evaporate (you’ll see holes forming at the top) I reduce the heat to low.  I check it round 20 minutes later and with a slotted spoon bring the bottom layer to the top.  Cover with the lid again for about another 10 to 15 minutes and move it around from bottom to top with the spoon again.  I don’t really time it actually, it’s just one of those things.

The end result is not something I’d call amazing, but damn decent.  It was definitely better than yellow rice I’ve ordered at some Latin restaurants.  I even enjoyed it again the following evening (the true test is if I bother to store it as leftovers and I did.)  If it were not edible it would have joined the others in the trash.

So, I’m quite relieved to say that (at least this time around) it didn’t belong on my silly list of food gone wrong.

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