I did it for Redman. He loves Mexican food, he loves rice and beans, he loves chicken. And I love that little boy to pieces, I don’t need to explain to anyone here, this is not about sons, this is about dinner. I thought why don’t I make this kid arroz con pollo? He’ll love it. And I’ll make it in the slow cooker, this will be a snap. A slam-dunk.
Hah, it was more like a brick.
It’s my fault. I didn’t think. What’s going to happen when you put rice in the slow cooker for six hours, huh, smarty-pants?
Nothing attractive, I’ll tell you that. It tasted all right, and Jeeps and I ate it, but the kids couldn’t get past the look of it. Panda managed a few polite bites. Redman looked at the dish and asked where the rice was. And he was right to. It tasted fine, but it looked like puke, there’s no nice way to say it, and when your dish looks like that, there’s no way to rescue it. Even today I dissolved some of it in a lot of chicken broth and tarted it up with lime juice and cilantro, thinking it could pass for a Mexican soup.
It didn’t pass.
So live and learn, y’all: NO RICE IN THE SLOW COOKER!!! Let me beat myself with a wire hanger and repeat that. NO! RICE! IN! THE! SLOW-COOKER! EVER!!!!
I will give you the recipe now, verbatim, but note well that you should make yellow rice and peas separately, on the side, and then serve the slow-cooked chicken over the rice and it will be beautiful. A slam-dunk.
Pollo Sin Arroz
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, any color, chopped (I used red and yellow)
1 1/2 cups rice
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 28-oz can tomatoes, drained
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 8 skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- Frozen peas
- Chopped cilantro or scallions
Put the saffron in a small dish and pour the boiling water over. Set aside.
Season chicken with salt and pepper, set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onon, garlic, pepper for five minutes.
Add the rice and stir until well coated. Add the herbs and tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, break them up). Empty all the vegetables and rice into the slow cooker.
Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides and add to the slow cooker.
Pour the broth and reserved saffron over all. Cover and cook 6 hours on high heat. For the last 30 minutes, stir in the frozen peas.
Garnish with cilantro or scallions if desired.
And no, I’m not going to show you what it looked like. Let’s just pretend it looked like this: