There are a few topics to address in this post, so let’s just start with the elephant in the room. I’m white. I’m female. I grew up (and live) in the suburbs. And yes, I love hip-hop. To most people in my world, this is no big deal. However, some people I’ve come across in my life have been surprised by this, or found it a novelty, or even asked me why? But I mean, how do you describe why you love the music you love? You like what you like! (Same thing applies to food too, I think). Anyway, maybe the seed was planted when I was a tot in the early-to-mid 80s, and my oldest brother was a teenager listening to RUN DMC, Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy, among others.
So when Elly announced she was ressurecting Eat to the Beat, a blogging event where you cook something inspired by a song/album/band, the first thing that popped into my mind was Jay-Z’s line from Girls, Girls, Girls:
Now that’s Spanish chick, French chick, Indian and Black /
That’s fried chicken, curry chicken, damn I’m gettin’ fat /
Arroz con pollo, french fries and crepes /
An appetite for destruction but I scrape the plate
(Note: I can’t tell if the content of the song is offensive, because I’ve been listening to The Blueprint for ten years and am immune, but suffice it to say this is from the pre-Beyonce days of 2001, and Jay doesn’t really do songs about the variety of girls he’d like to…ahem…”date”…anymore, so maybe don’t watch the video or go read the rest of the lyrics if you are easily offended).
Now, admittedly this is not even in my Top 25 Jay-Z tracks, but that’s a topic for another day, I suppose. I’ve had the arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) recipe on Smitten Kitchen bookmarked forever, so I busted out my Le Crueset (fulfilling the french side of the lyric), cued up The Blueprint on my iPod and had a fun little party in my kitchen. This was delicious, no doubt because of the chorizo mixed into the rice, so I loved the arroz part of the recipe more so than the pollo. I used bone-in chicken pieces, which aren’t really my thing, so when I make this again, I’ll definitely use boneless. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers.
Next week, the Watch the Throne tour stops in Toronto (this will be my 4th time seeing Jay, 3rd for Kanye), and if the setlists posted online are true, it’s going to epic. I can’t wait!
Arroz Con Pollo
Source: Smitten Kitchen
3 large garlic cloves
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
4-6 pieces chicken (the original recipe used bone-in breasts, thighs and drumsticks, I used two breasts and two thighs and ate the leftovers for a few days)
1 chorizo sausage, removed from casing
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
8oz diced tomatoes (original recipe calls for fresh, but they’re gross right now, so I used canned)
6 oz beer (I used Corona)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup long-grain white rice
- Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 tsp salt, and transfer to a big ziploc bag. Add vinegar and oregano, and toss chicken in and smoosh around until it’s coated. Stick it in the fridge for an hour.
- Cook chorizo in olive oil in a big pot over medium-high heat, until browned, about 2-3 minutes, crumbling it with your spoon/spatula. Add onions, pepper and garlic, and cook until until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
- Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring, 1 more minute.
- Add chicken and cook, uncovered, lowering heat to medium, for about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pot (this is going to make the next step easier).
- Stir in tomatoes, beer, broth and rice until everything is combined, then add the chicken back to the pot, pressing it down a bit.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook stirring once or twice (removing the chicken makes it easier to stir) until rice is tender, 20-30 minutes (mine took the whole 30 minutes).
- Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.