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Sides with arroz con pollo?

A giant pot of arroz con pollo is in the plan for an upcoming dinner. Problem, though, is appropriate sides. Mr. Pine wants frijoles, which doesn't do much for me and mixes cultures, to boot! Other ideas? The guests aren't very adventuress eaters.

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  1. How about green beans with toasted flaked almonds?
    Gives freshness from the beans and a nice crunch from the almonds.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      2nd'd. Green veggies. Fresh green beans are simple and awesome. Brussels Sprouts or Broccoli are also good options. Just steam them up, and toss with ex-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. If you like, toss in a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar and/or a big of honey and/or a bit of srirachi sauce. I also like the idea of a bit of almonds or walnuts for a crunch - if no one is alergic to nuts.

      I often do 2 sides, even if it's just the 2 of us for dinner. With a larger crowd, 2 sides would be quite appropriate.

    2. Well, of course you already have rice, so I agree that a basic green vegetable would work - like the aforementioned green beans, with or without almonds. Also a good old plain mixed green salad - perhaps with a mix of different olives, tomatoes, etc., etc. And a good warm crusty bread is never out of style with any meal. Perhaps with an herbed olive oil for dipping.

      1. I'd do some okra. sauteed really fast with salt and oil.

        1. beans dont feel right with this highly seasoned, rich rice dish. It will have plenty of veg in it too, wont it (onions, peppers?) Id vote for some thing green and fresh providing a color and texture contrast , from salad to grilled broccoli or asparagus to the green beans someone else mentioned.

          1. What's the culture of your rice with chicken?

            5 Replies
              1. re: Gail

                This Ecuadorian blogger suggests
                " serve with ripe fried plantains, a small salad, pickled onions, avocado slices, and hot sauce on the side."

                1. re: paulj

                  Second the plantains maduro or maybe some yucca with mojo

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    If you're feeling lazy but craving platanos de maduro, the frozen Goya ones are easy and pretty good - just nuke 'em.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      I've purchased them on occasion. The tostones I was not too keen on

            1. Grilled marinated zucchini would go good (quite frankly I like "frijoles" with it too, red, black, blanco, pinto etc."

              2 Replies
                1. re: escondido123

                  Black beans are a natural and a side that I always make with arroz con pollo.

              1. I suggest breaking tradition and culture - haven't a lot of us had plenty of beans, rice, and plantains on the same plate? - and do peas with mushrooms.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Veggo

                  There should be some potatoes along with the rice and plantains! And some mote (hominy) for good measure. Having only one starch on the plate is for gringos. :)

                  1. re: paulj

                    For this gringo, a little starch on my plate and a little more in my Guayabera shirt collars and pleats works just fine. :)

                    1. re: Veggo

                      heh heh veggo.

                      i'd like some quickly sauteed in butter/olive oil till JUST tender julienned veggies in a melange: red bell pepper, green bell pepper, green beans, carrots, asparagus, jicama, sliced garlic. squirt some lemon on top when done, maybe some chopped cilantro. bright, tasty, crunchy, nutritious, beautiful.

                      oh, and i ALSO want some tostones, por favor. so, i'll need some pepper vinegar from texas pete or a homemade aji sauce!

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Followed by a nice cigar and a glass of rum

                  2. I'd do something like a vinegary cabbage slaw or roasted corn salad to go along with your dish.

                    1. It's really a one-dish meal. The non-chicken part of it is your side. I would imagine some sort of tropical fruit salsa might work.

                      I think it would be appropriate to precede it with soup and perhaps salad.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                        Most meals I was served over the 2 weeks I spent in Cuba were very heavy on the starches. Often rice appeared alongside beans, yuca, fries or boiled potatoes, bread, etc. I had single meals that included ALL of those! It always felt extremely heavy. What also always appeared at these calorie-laden feasts was a salad, which was often very basic, but occasionally quite lovely. Soup was also sometimes served as a starter.

                        I really think the arroz con pollo would be great, sided with a salad that has some variety to it, such as greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, shredded carrots, sliced steamed or roasted beets, steamed green beans, etc. Start with small bowls of a brothy vegetable soup, either mixed vegetable with beans or something simpler, like consomme with just a smattering of vegetables. If you're trying to keep to a Cuban theme, squashes are pretty popular there. A pureed squash soup would be nice or even a homemade tomato soup. Soups in Cuba tend to be heavy as well (bean-based, potato and cream-based or else loaded with fideos. Funds are tight there, so the starches fill bellies quickly and economically. You, however, will amply fill bellies at your table with the arroz con pollo, so your sides can be considerably lighter and more nutrient-dense.

                        Good luck!

                      2. Thanks, all, for all the great ideas. Mr Pine is one of those "only one starch on the plate" weenies, so I was thinking with blinders on (mixed metaphors, sorry). Plus, definitely need some crunch factor. Was planning a salad, but green beans with almonds sounds great, along with plaintains (bet the guest have never had them), and maybe another green something. Roasted corn (maybe with my chipotle compound butter) also is intriguing. Ya'll got my brain cells functioning again--thanks!

                        10 Replies
                          1. re: alkapal

                            Why? Just because it has attained fad status?

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              I used to love chipotle before I ever saw it in a restaurant... then it was EVERYWHERE!! Now I'm so sick of it I don't even use it anymore at all.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                no, scubadoo-- chipotle is overused and a "fad" but i oppose it because it ain't cuban (and would not be good with the dish in my opinion). i don;t think 1. smoked, or 2. corn is suitable for arroz con pollo.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Being from S. Fla you know arroz con pollo is made by many and not just Cubans. What is the origin of the dish. I would say Spanish. But I know where you're coming from.

                                  My dad spent his youth in Mexico City and I've been eating and preparing chipotles for more than 40 yrs. Way before they were on the radar of the average American. So for me the use has not changed much from my youth.

                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                    sure, paella is probably the progenitor in the spanish speaking world, but there are similar concepts all over -- indian biryani and persian recipes, too (syrian, too, i presume). ;-). it is a hard combo to beat for savory, moist & comforting goodness.

                                    i make an "el quicko" version (LOL) with packaged yellow rice and trader joe's chicken tenderloins. i throw in some olives sometimes, too (when i'm needing even MORE sodium) and roasted red peppers.

                                    scubadoo, you have some really widely varied food influences, don't you? i recall you calling yourself a "syrian jew," no?

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Alkapal: I'll be even more offensive...also thought of using my ghost peppers in the compound butter instead of chipotle! :) And, funny you should say so, 'cause I told Mr. Pine (from India) that arroz con pollo is just unspiced biryani.

                              2. re: pine time

                                'Elote', Mexican corn on the cob, would, in my opinion, be a good side to rice with chicken. You could provide a variety of Mexican style toppings - mayo, crumbled cheese (cotija), chile powder, your chipotle butter. The diners can choose how 'picante' they make the side. And the texture of corn complements the softer texture of rice.

                                The thing that stood out when I ate at small Cuban restaurant in Seattle was the garlicy mojo sauce on the side. It went especially well with the tostones, which by themselves are bit dry and bland. I'm not sure if that would complement the arroz.

                              3. I know it is back to "mixing cultures," but I'd like nopalitos with mine, please.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: tim irvine

                                  Don't Mexicans make arroz con polo?

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Mexico and Cuba are separated by only 160 miles of water, but there is surprisingly little culinary influence in each from the other. An occasional arroz con pollo and ropa vieja in Mexico, but not common.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      The Cuban version might be best known in certain circles (not mine), but there is hardly a country in Latin America that does not have its own version(s). The well known Ortiz book has a simple Paraguayan version, plus ones from Venezuela, Columbia, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Another book has 3 Cuban versions, plus ones from Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Argentina. Paella and Jambalaya over lap in concept.

                                      Ropa vieja has its roots in Spain, with variations throughout Latin America; though its association with Cuba is strong. The Spanish version is more of a hash using leftover roast beef (or meat from the cocido).

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        paulj, i have been curious…and now that you mention it… what are "your 'circles'"?

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I learned to speak Spanish in Ecuador. I've spent a month+ in Mexico. In Chicago and Seattle I've shopped for Mexican and Peruvian products, and mostly eaten a Mexican restaurants. The one Cuban place also had Venezuelan and Mexican items. My cookbooks, in rough order of number, are Mexican, Spanish, Ecuadorian, and general Hispanic.

                                          The Spanish dish that most cookbooks attribute to Cuba is Moros y Cristianos - black beans and rice.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            ok, thanks. i thought that i've seen you weigh in on various ethnic cuisines so was just wondering your background.

                                            as to cuban food, for what it is worth, i grew up in south florida, so i'm familiar with it that way.

                                2. I had something similar to the following at a restaurant recently & it was really tasty.


                                  Yes, yes, mixing cultures but I'm all about that what with French apps, Indian mains, California wine & Italian desserts : )

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ceekskat

                                    is Puerto Rican version of arroz con pollo from Daisy Martinez

                                    Ingred HOffmann's version (she's Columbian/Miami Spanish television)

                                    the Jorge Ayala Throwdown; NY Puerto Rican