Anyone who’s not afraid of eating some carbohydrates now and again has a favorite, be it pasta, potatoes, or bread. But no one ever seems to get excited about rice, calling it bland or boring. This can definitely be the case if you do nothing but boil the grain in unseasoned water. With the right accompanying ingredients, rice can become something spectacular. These seven recipes prove rice has what it takes to taste great.
1. Arroz con Pollo
Chicken and rice is one of those combos that appears in cuisines all around the world. Try Cuba’s answer to the dish with this easy arroz con pollo from Cooking Light. It’s loaded with boldly flavored ingredients, including ham, olives, and spices.
Though this dish certainly delivers big flavor, none of it is terribly spicy. Contrary to popular belief, Cuban food doesn’t rely on heat from chiles. You’re more likely to see ingredients like sour orange, cumin, and garlic.
- 6 chicken drumsticks, skinned
- 6 chicken thighs, skinned
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, mined
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ cup uncooked Arborio rice
- ½ cup diced ham
- 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 914.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
- ½ cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
Directions: Season chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove chicken to a plate and drizzle with lime juice. Cover and keep warm.
Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to same pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in remaining oregano, turmeric, and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add rice and ham and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium and add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, add chicken, nestling into rice, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 18 minutes, or until liquid is almost absorbed. Add peas, cover, and cook for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Garnish with olives and serve.