Food Friday: Arroz con Pollo

Being a Navy family, we move around a bit. And sometimes, you have to leave things you’ve grown to love, not only people and weather, but also restaurants. We love to go out and eat Mexican food, but we haven’t always lived where there’s a good selection. One such place prompted me to fiddle with this dish trying to replicate one of my hometime favorites, Puerto Vallarta’s Arroz con Pollo.

No other restaurant has been able to match their dish to my liking, although it’s been so long since I’ve been that perhaps I’ve put it up on a pedestal in my mind. In any case, I come close enough at home now that the craving has been satisfied. In fact, I’ve been living near the restaurant again for over a year and haven’t been in to sample the original. Here’s my take:

Start with the mushrooms. I love mushrooms in my arroz con pollo! Saute in a large skillet with butter and olive oil, then remove from the pan and save for later.

Next, use a box of spanish rice. I like the rice a roni with the brown rice in it, so I feel like I’m making it just a little bit healthy. (Don’t tell me about the nutritional info and ruin the dream I’ve built.) It’s best to have one that calls for a can of diced tomatoes. Otherwise, you have to adjust the liquids accordingly to add one. Start it according to directions.

When it comes time to simmer the rice, add your cooked chicken (I pre-steam mine with cumin and other spices, but you can use any pre-cooked chicken), mushrooms and anything else you want. I often add diced green peppers, so we get some vegetables. Cover and simmer according to the rice directions.

When there’s five minutes left, add a few handfuls of shredded cheese (mexican blend if you got it!). Serve with tortillas, if so desired.

My family eats this up, and I hope yours will to!

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