When I asked locals which Tucson centric recipes they would most like to see included in my Taste of Tucson cookbook, quite a few people mentioned arroz con pollo and I’ve always found chicken and rice to be a comforting combo.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups diced white onion
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup spicy red wine such as Malbec
- 4 cups chicken broth divided
- 1 tsp granulated chicken-flavored bouillon preferably Knorr brand
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 8-oz can Salsa de Chile Fresco preferably El Pato brand
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup frozen peas & carrots
- 1 tablespoon red chile powder
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese plus more for serving
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken thighs and onion and cook until the chicken is browned, about 4 minutes on each side. The onion will soften.
- Remove the chicken, leaving the onion in the pan, and set aside. Add the rice and remaining 1 tabespoon of butter, then sauté until the rice is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add 2 cups of the broth, the chicken-flavored bouillon, and the garlic. Simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Add the salsa, vinegar, peas and carrots, chile powder, oregano, cayenne, and the remaining 2 cups broth. Stir, then return the browned chicken to the pot with its juices. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Stir in the Cotija cheese. Season to taste with the salt and black pepper. Spoon the rice over the chicken pieces and serve in wide shallow bowls sprinkled with additional cheese.