I get lots of requests for healthier versions of both comfort food and traditional Mexican dishes. I love my comfort food and the flavors of traditional Mexican favorites, so I am always exploring ways to make these dishes fit into my lifestyle. This version of Arroz Con Pollo is a slightly lighter, yet still comforting version of the original steamy rice and chicken dish. A little less oil, chicken breast instead of who chicken pieces, and the addition of calabasa with tomato to reduce the rice portion and add veggies and there you go!
This is easy to make and you can use this recipe for my traditional Mexican rice or the full meal, with the chicken and vegetables. So let’s get started!
Start with your large every day pan with a little corn oil, 2 cups of rice, half an onion and 3-5 cloves of smashed garlic. DO NOT throw away your onion peel… I’ll share with you what to do with this culinary treasure later! Make sure to keep moving the rice to avoid burning. It’s ready for liquid when it turns a nice golden brown. You will smell a nice nutty aroma.
Next, add your own or a good quality chicken stock, stir and add achote seasoning. It’s the achote that gives the rice that nice golden color. Also add a dash of cumin.
Now lay portion-sized chicken breast over the top of the rice. Keep them spread apart to allow steam to come through. Turn the heat to a low setting, around 3 on my stove. Cover the pan and set a timer for 20 minutes. Now leave it alone!
I don’t like washing dishes, so we can use the same pan to make the calabasa. Combine the calabasa, 1 can of diced tomato, cilantro, salt and pepper. I also like to include a can of diced chili peppers. Lay the chicken on top to continue cooking it and to blend the flavors, cover and simmer until the calasa is tender and the chicken is done.
Make sure you share a little bit of chicken with your cat!
This is a colorful dish once it is finished thanks to the tomato, calabasa and a touch of cilantro. Add the chicken and vegetables over the rice to serve family-style or portion out for dinner later. This freezes and re-heats very well, so enjoy it now and later, too!