For my first official post
This recipe for Arroz con Pollo and the story that accompanies it are the first in the cookbook. If you are interested in hearing more about my time in Peru and other Peruvian recipes feel free to contact me and I can hook you up. I hope you enjoy!
I have one note about ingredients. The recipe calls for Aji Amarillo which is a pepper native to Peru and may be difficult to find in the United States or elsewhere. I would recommend looking in your local Hispanic or South American food market. You can also look online for pepper purees or sauces that can be shipped to your home. If you have no other option any type of mild chili pepper, like a jalapeno or pablano, can work. It won't be authentically Peruvian, but it will still taste good!
Arroz con Pollo is one of those dishes that is practically synonymous with Peruvian cuisine. If you go to Peru, or any South American country for that matter, you will be hard pressed to find a place that doesn't sell some version of this classic chicken and rice dish.
A relatively simple dish consisting of seasoned rice and chicken, Arroz con Pollo is the perfect meal to begin your Peruvian culinary exploration. One of the most memorable times I encountered Arroz con Pollo was on my first night in Ayacucho. After my new host family picked me up from the bus station, we came back to their house and enjoyed Arroz con Pollo for dinner. The chicken was juicy and the skin, crisp and salty, while the seasoned rice added a bright flavor and a touch of spice that made my mouth water. Though I was just getting to know them, my new family seemed nice and open to having a strange kid from Indiana in their home. As we sat around the table eating chicken and rice, we talked about my home country and how life was different there compared to Peru.
After dinner I played games with my little brother and talked with my host mother about her childhood. This was a promising beginning to my next adventure in a new city, and a great way to start building relationships with my new family members.
Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, cumin & garlic. In a hot, oiled pot, sear the chicken on all sides until they are golden brown, then set to the side.
In the same pot begin to saute the onion, aji puree, and the bouillon. Puree the cilantro in a blender with 1 cup of water until smooth.
Once the onions are translucent, add the cilantro puree, chicken, aji pepper, peas, & carrots.
Let simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked fully through and registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the chicken and add the remaining cup of water and the rice to the pot.
Cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated.
Serve each plate with one piece of chicken and a healthy portion of rice.