Arroz con Pollo with Salsa Verde   

1 (3-pound) whole chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons ground cumin
11/2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 dried chorizo sausages (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 cups long grain white rice
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warm
1 cup pimento stuffed green olives

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F. 

2.  Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. In a small bowl, blend 2 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika and cayenne. Rub each piece of chicken with the spice paste and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes for the flavor to develop.

3.  In a heavy, ovenproof casserole with lid, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Fry the chorizo over medium heat until it is crispy and renders its fat. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes Remove from pan and set aside.

4.  Make a sofrito by sautéing the onion, garlic, bell pepper and bay leaves; cooking until the vegetables are very soft and almost dissolved. Stir in the rice so the grains are well coated with the sofrito.

5.  Add the tomatoes and broth, season with salt and pepper. Return the chorizo and chicken to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and transfer pot to oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is done and the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid. Scatter the olives on top of the chicken and rice before serving.


Salsa Verde

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (or, a less aggressive, tho tasty pepper)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lime, juiced

1.  Mash all ingredients to form a loose paste.

2.  Serve as an accompaniment to Arroz con Pollo.


Yield: 6 servings


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