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Jun 27, 2010 05:34 AM

More Arroz con Pollo questions

Yesterday I tried to make a Puerto Rican style Arroz con Pollo, and although it was edible, the rice looked and tasted different than I remember it tasting when I was growing up.
1. The rice wasn't as uniformly yellow (or orange) as I remember. I used achiote oil for color, but I think I remember my mother also using tomato sauce (or paste) when she made yellow rice. Anyone have any experience with this? Or is it possible to overheat achiote seeds in a way that they don't give off as much color, without obviously burning them? The color of the oil was a bright red. (I’m not interested in tumeric or saffron at the moment)
2. I used a home made sofrito, and the rice tasted herbier than I remember, but not as flavorful.
Are these things normal and am I too used to Sazon, etc.?

Anybody have any ideas about how to dress up the chicken. I've had Arroz con Pollo at restaurants where the chicken skin was a rich dark brown as opposed to merely browned. Does anyone know how to achieve this? Most recipes call for placing the chicken back in the pot when the pot still has liquid in it. This can give the chicken a boiled texture and flavor. Is that traditional? Anybody know any work arounds besides cooking the chicken separately?

This is the recipe I used:

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  1. The easiest way to get the bright achiote color is to use the little Goya Sazon packets.

    1. The recipe I settled on used 1/4 c. tomato sauce and 1/8 t. saffron, with no achiote because I couldn't find annatto seeds.

      :edit: that is, per cup of rice.

      I see many of the more complex recipes use tomato sauce too. I would try it and see if that tastes and looks like what you remember. If I understand correctly, you've gotten as much color out of your annatto as you possibly could.

      Yes, it is traditional to put the chicken back in the pot with liquid. I wouldn't skip it, cause it gives the rice a better chicken flavor, and allows the spices to flavor the chicken too.

      Maybe you could try removing the chicken at the end and broiling it skin-side up for a minute or two, till crisp.

      1. I believe the method I use is actually for Mexican style arroz con pollo but it does yield some delicious results. I can never find Goya sazon, so the closest I've found is achiote paste with coriander. I rub the chicken with the paste first, then brown and set aside. Then I add a little dab of paste to the oil while I make the sofrito. My rice turns more red than yellow, but you really get that nice peppery flavor from the achiote.