arroz con pollo (and memories)

i found myself getting a little teary eyed yesterday, in the kitchen, because i wanted to make arroz con pollo but the way my mom did, and i found, all of a sudden, that i couldn’t remember what exactly she did to make it. that depresses me a little, because i don’t want to forget anything about my mom. but the only thing i could definitely recall was green bell peppers and fresh tomatoes, not canned. still, it’s funny what kind of memories do get stirred up, in the process of panicking about not remembering. i can recall very clearly being made to hang out in the kitchen when i wanted to read, the eyerolling, that annoying *click* i make with my tongue when i’m forced into something i don’t want to be doing, all in her grand efforts to teach me something … of course it all paid off, in the end, i love food, i love the planning process, cooking, feeding other people, which was, i think, my mom’s favorite part (anyone who walked into our home left with some sort of foodstuff in their mouth or wrapped to go). it’s the only thing i can do, entertaining-wise, as i’m not much for conversation. all i can do is feed people, and i don’t mind that about myself one bit. but back to the arroz con pollo: there are so many different ways to make this, just google it, or make it up out of what you’ve got. there’s no right or wrong way, i don’t think. and even with a couple of additions to what i did last night (white wine, frozen peas), i think it ended up being pretty darn close to what my mom used to do …

Arroz con Pollo

You need:

bone-in chicken breasts (you can either leave the skin on or take it off – myself, i don’t like the rubbery texture the skin gets when it’s cooked in the water with the rice, so i remove it)
salt and pepper
ground cumin
dried oregano (preferably mexican)
white rice
onion, chopped
green bell pepper, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
roma tomatoes, diced
a jalapeno, deveined and deseeded for less heat if you want, chopped
olive oil or vegetable oil, whichever
chicken stock
white wine
frozen peas
cilantro, chopped
lime slices, for squeezing on top

Heat your oil in a large pot. Salt and pepper the chicken. Season it with the ground cumin and oregano, as well. Sear these up (both sides) in the hot oil, until well browned. Set them aside on a plate. In the same pot, brown your rice with the onions, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno (add more oil if you have to). Stir the tomatoes in. Pour a little wine in and let it cook out. Arrange the chicken breasts back into the pan. Cover with chicken stock. Add some more salt and pepper. Cover and let it simmer on medium until the liquid is all absorbed and both the rice and chicken are cooked through. Stir in the frozen peas off heat, cover with the lid and let those heat through about 5 minutes or so. Serve this with the fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice squeezed on top with some corn tortillas.

DSCF1876

p.s. i always mean to record here my cooking music, but i always forget. when i cook, i like to play records (literally. we rarely if ever listen to actual cds). last night we listened to Waylon Jennings

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “arroz con pollo (and memories)

  1. Yeah, cooking is a very big connection to my mother for me too. We had friends visiting for July 4th weekend, and I could see my mother in every dish I made, every gesture I made, every time I urged people to eat and enjoy. I’m so much like her in so many ways, I can even hear it in my own voice.

    It’s cool how these gestures, routines, and memories interact to bring people near you, even when they’re gone (or far away, in my case). *hug*

  2. rebekah

    well obviously your mom is an awesome person if youre just like her 🙂

    it was just the act of forgetting that got to me; i can wing the heck out of any dish, i’m constantly making stuff up, but the things she made, i want to do almost exact. i can’t fully explain why, i just do.

    🙂

  3. jewelboxer

    you make her proud every single day, love.

    i understand the panic associated with the all too inevitable human tendency to forget details. but the big things, the feelings, the lessons, those pieces of love stay with us forever.

    • rebekah

      yeah, i know. my intentions were good, you know. always are. and i figure even if i don’t remember word for word, step by step, ingredient by ingredient, i’ll still be pretty happy with new things. change is good, yes? 🙂

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