Arroz con Pollo (take 2)

This past weekend was full of family and fun!

My baby brother graduated from college, making me officially old. At least my little sister is still under 14 years old. She will keep me “hip with the kids”!

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PS – Check out my dad’s epic photo-bomb in the background of this picture!

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Then, I flew home to spend 24 hours with my husband, GF Guy. In honor of his visit home, I made a second attempt at creating his family’s famous Arroz con Pollo. In sticking with my convictions to avoid processed foods, I skipped the usual yellow rice mix, and made the recipe completely from scratch. My first attempt, a few months ago, was just okay. The recipe was very complex, but, it was missing something.

I think this version is much closer to where it should be. Both GF Guy and I loved it and went back for seconds. And, the chicken to rice ratio was spot on perfect. In our house, that is probably the most import thing when making chicken and yellow rice. There are few things more annoying than ending up with a giant pot of leftover yellow rice and no more chicken.

This version will be a keeper in our house!

Arroz con Pollo

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Organic, Chicken Thighs (bone-in, skin on)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, julienned
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • about 2 Tblsp White Wine
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • pinch Saffron threads
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 Tblsp Tomato Paste
  • 1.5 cups Paella Rice (short grain)
  • 3.5 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup frozen Green Peas
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 bay leaf and chicken thighs to the pot of boiling water and poach 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, drain, and season chicken with salt and pepper. Set seasoned chicken aside.
  3. Place large pot back on the stove over medium high heat. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pot and saute’ onions and bell pepper until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Quickly, so as not to burn the garlic, deglaze the pan with white wine.
  5. Add the tomato paste and rice.
  6. Add the spices and bay leaf and stir to thoroughly coat all ingredients.
  7. Pour chicken stock into the pot.
  8. Nestle the seasoned chicken thighs in the pot. They should be mostly submerged in the cooking liquid.
  9. Top chicken with the peas, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Drizzle with a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  10. Reduce the heat to low, cover pot with a lid, and cook 20-30 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
  11. Adjust seasonings and serve.
  12. Serve with fresh Cilantro, chopped tomato, baby spinach, and sliced avocado, if desired.

Smoked Balsamic Honey BBQ Sauce

I have this deep fascination with making ingredients from scratch.

What’s the big mystery? Things didn’t start off in bottles on grocery store shelves. Someone, a long time ago, used to make these ingredients for their families. So, why can’t I? My first foray into making condiments is a BBQ Sauce recipe. Admittedly, I used store bought organic ketchup and organic mustard in the recipe. But, it’s a start, right? After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither will my condiment collection be.

Another catalyst for my foray into condiment creation is the book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.

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Half of my friends already think I’m a bit of an extremist when it comes to my commitment to organic, local, and sustainable foods. After reading Michael Moss’s book, however, I’m about to become even more extreme. I don’t want to buy anything that comes in a box or package ever again, unless it comes from a reputable company who’s beliefs align with my own. I highly recommend everyone read this book. Consider yourself warned, though. It will change the way you see food forever.

On that note… I made BBQ Sauce!!! GF Guy was home for a few days so I pulled out all the stops and made one of his favorite dishes, Pulled Pork! I used my old stand-by recipe, but this time made my own BBQ Sauce. Next time, I will make my own ketchup and mustard first. 😉

Smoked Balsamic Honey BBQ Sauce

generously adapted from this recipe on Simply Scratch

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Organic Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Organic Honey
  • 1 Tblsp Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 1 Tblsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to low and allow to reduce for 20 minutes.
  3. Cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.