Latin Inspired Chicken and Rice


Latin Style Chicken and Rice adapted from Cooks Illustrated

I so badly wanted this weekend’s cauliflower coleslaw recipe to be good that it pains me even now to write about anything else. We’ve established this routine, this Sunday schedule of sorts that involves a heavy amount of pot lifting and knife chopping because you know – we’re pretty into eating.

And by we, I mean Garrett. He’s rather insistent about the whole thing. Not that I’m complaining. Even without his daily two-hour trip to the gym, the boy can still pack away a healthy portion of food. Only now, he’s agonizing over what he has (not so fondly) dubbed his beer belly, which he has taken to rubbing as he pouts about getting fat.

He’s not, by the way, getting fat. Not by a long shot.  

Latin Style Chicken and Rice

But, in an effort to make him feel better about the fact that working forty hours a week and going to school full time means he can’t make it to the gym on the regular, I was trying to be healthy. 

I mean after all, I could handle a little healthy eating. By which I mean, I could handle a whole lot of it.

And the slaw looked great. A flavor forward, waist friendly excuse for an extra helping. I implicitly trust the blogger who shared the recipe. I won’t throw her under the buss right here because I have, on several occasions, taken her suggestions and they’ve all been extremely lovely. 

Latin Chicken and Rice on Baguette Taste Wonder Bread Budget

Until now. 

It was really, very disappointing. The funny thing is, Garrett liked it. Which makes me want to give it another shot somewhere down the road. Tweak a few things. Try and actually make a flavor forward dish and not the funky bland excuse that filled the bowl on Sunday.

Mikaela Cowles makes Latin Style Chicken and Rice

But, redemption has a funny way of smiling. And yesterday, it smiled. It smiled all over this Latin chicken and rice dish from Cook’s Illustrated. Because let me tell you, if you’re looking for a recipe that’s a sure bet, it’s one from Cook’s Illustrated. And when you’re down in the dumps about a dish that should have been great, a sure bet is exactly what you need. 

Latin Inspired Chicken and Rice
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

I made this dish specifically because I wanted a chicken and rice dish that was packed with flavor. (Chicken and rice are cheap you know.) But, I also wanted something that was warm and comforting. I wanted something that would make good leftovers. And, I really wanted something that didn’t require too many fresh ingredients. I’m ramping up my “pantry” recipes and this one is perfect. I made a few tweaks here and there, mostly to add spice and swap brown rice for white rice. The results? Well, I don’t know how long these leftovers are going to last. I think it tastes even better reheated.

8 cloves garlic, minced
5 tsp white vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
4 TBS canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 TBS red pepper flakes
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 TBS chili powder
3 cups brown rice
1 8-ounce can green olives, pitted and halved
2 TBS cappers, rinsed
1 16-ounce jar whole pimentos, seeded and chopped

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Combine garlic, 1 TBS vinegar, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and oregano in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat evenly. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Note: I let mine sit for 30 minutes. Next time I make this, I’ll probably let it sit for an hour to really let the chicken get the garlic flavor.

Heat 2 TBS canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken skin side down, allowing to brown (3-4 minutes). Flip chicken and brown (another 3-4 minutes).
Note: Don’t overcrowd the Dutch oven. If you need to cook the chicken in batches, do so.

Remove chicken from the Dutch oven, transfer to plate and set aside. Pour out remaining oil and fat. Wipe Dutch oven free of any remaining garlic.

Return Dutch oven to stove. Add remaining 2 TBS canola oil and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper and red pepper flakes. Sautee until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in cilantro.

Return chicken to Dutch oven, add tomato sauce, chicken broth and chili powder. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue simmering for 20 minutes.

Stir in rice, olives and cappers. Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to oven. Cook until rice is fully cooked (about 50 minutes), stirring every 10 minutes. As needed to fully cook rice, add extra chicken stock.

Once the rice is full cooked, transfer chicken to a plate. Using two spoons, pull chicken from bones in large chunks.
Note: Using spoons allows you to create large chunks rather than shredded chicken.

Stir chicken chunks and pimentos into rice. Serve immediately.


About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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