Caitlin and I met at Hope College, in Michigan, where I attended for 2 years and she graduated from!
Now we are both married and blogging. :)
I was elated when she said YES to doing a guest post here on my blog! Her blog is always inspiring me to try new recipes.
So please enjoy!
You wouldn't know it from the name, but Bucktown is full of Latino food. More specifically, Cuban cuisine seems to play a significant role in the neighborhood (we're talking nine restaurants in less than one square mile, people).
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago--the same suburb that Kate grew up in--and the indigenous cuisine there consisted of foods like white bread and peanut butter. Culinary diversity at its finest. Our transplant to Chicago a little over a year ago did a 180 on our dining options, and now includes two Cuban restaurants within walking distance and a few more readily accessible by car.
Upon discovering we live in "Little Havana", we realized we knew nothing about Cuban cuisine. I think they might drink mojitos? That's about it. Thus began our quest to educate ourselves about Cuban food and find the perfect dish that we could cook at home.
Stumbling across this recipe for Arroz con Pollo was a real miracle, let me tell you. It seemed to fit the ticket: delicious, filling, and plenty of leftovers. Hey, it was even called "Cuban Chicken" in the recipe title (in Spanish, no less)! In all seriousness though, this dish is quite good and especially fitting for the fall. We love the idea of sharing this recipe with company and with a great bottle of wine nearby.
Let us know how it turns out for you (and if Cuban food isn't quite your thing, go here for a few more recipe ideas).
Arroz con Pollo
Adapted from Gourmet
3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 chicken breasts, bone-in, halved
4 chicken thighs
3 ounces Spanish chorizo, skin discarded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped, plus another half used at the end, sliced into thin strips
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 pound tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 12-ounce bottle beer, not dark
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups long-grain brown rice (14 ounces)
Smash peeled garlic heads with flat side of the knife. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the top, and using the flat side of the knife again, mash garlic into a paste. Put garlic paste, vinegar, and oregano into a large bowl and add the chicken, coating all sides with the marinade. Cover and chill chicken for at least an hour.
(Husband's trick for minimizing "onion crying": cut next to a lit burner. Wife's trick: wear swimming goggles.)
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook chorizo for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add onions, 1 bell pepper (chopped), and garlic. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves and stir together for one minute. Take chicken out of refrigerator and add all chicken and leftover marinade to the pot. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes*, stirring frequently (this is where it's nice to have a cooking buddy--make sure your chicken gets rotated from the bottom of the pan to the top frequently to ensure even cooking).
Add tomatoes, beer, chicken broth, and rice and bring mixture to a boil. Make sure all of your rice is submerged so it all cooks (again with the cooking buddy--you might have to take a few pieces of chicken to get the rice at the bottom). Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a round of parchment/wax paper, then cover with a lid. Cook for 40 minutes*, stirring a few times. After 35 minutes, add 1/2 green pepper (thin strips) to the top for some added texture. Check seasonings; add salt and pepper as needed.
Take off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes uncovered before serving. Throw out parchment paper and bay leaves and serve.
*The last time we made this recipe we used white rice and the original 10 minute cook time for the chicken was fine. It also only took 20-30 minutes for the white rice to cook through. With brown rice, however, we cooked the chicken for 10 minutes and the rice for 40 minutes; I might try initially only cooking the chicken for 5 with brown rice next time.
Oh and by the way, check out this picture of my great hair day thanks to the lovely Kate! :)