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Southwestern-Inspired Arroz con Pollo with Chiles, Chorizo, and Beer

Arroz con Pollo

This is an untraditional, Southwestern version of the Spanish casserole—no whole tomatoes, just a heady broth thickened with tomato paste and spiked with fresh poblanos. Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

2 poblano chiles

12 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, cut into ½-inch pieces (see Note)

One 4-to 5-pound chicken, giblets and neck removed, cut into 9 pieces. I used 9 chicken thighs with bone and skin.

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dry sherry

One 12-ounce bottle dark or amber beer

1½ cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons stemmed thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon saffron, crumbled and soaked in 1 tablespoon water for 5 minutes

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

1 cup long-grain white rice

 

Instructions

Char the chiles over an open gas flame, holding them over it with metal tongs; or broil them until blackened on all sides on a large baking sheet about 5 inches from a preheated broiler, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Place the chiles in a paper bag and seal tightly, or place them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside for 10 minutes. Peel the blackened skin off the chiles. Stem, seed, and roughly chop the chiles, then set aside.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Set a large, heat-safe Dutch oven or a very large, heavy oven casserole over medium heat. Add the chorizo and brown lightly, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Cut each breast in half the short way. Season all the chicken pieces with the pepper, add them to the pot. Pour in the beer and chicken broth, then stir in the tomato paste until it dissolves. Stir in the chopped poblanos, oregano, thyme, saffron with its soaking water, salt, and bay leaves. Bring back to a simmer. Stir in the rice, chorizo, chicken pieces, and any accumulated juices, submerging the meat somewhat in the liquid. Bring to a simmer, making sure no grains of rice stand outside the liquid on the chicken pieces.

Cover and bake until almost all the liquid has been absorbed, the rice is tender, and the chicken has cooked through, about 1 hour. If the seal on your pot is not perfect, the casserole may dry out as it bakes. If so, sprinkle more water over the dish in ½-cup increments as it bakes. Discard the bay leaves before serving.

Note: You can use Mexican chorizo, but since it’s raw, fry it in 1 tablespoon canola oil until well browned, about 5 minutes.

Variations: Add up to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the bay leaves.

Sprinkle 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed, over the dish during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Bruce Weinstein. “The Ultimate Cook Book.