Lightening Up a Florida Classic

by Craig Lee

This issue's recipe appeared to me in a vision a couple of weeks ago. I, like many other South Florida natives, grew up eating Arroz con Pollo (Chicken with Yellow Rice to non bilinguals--not that I'm bilingual, but I know enough Spanish to order in a restaurant). My mother used to make and serve it on a somewhat regular basis. The chicken had the skin on it. There was sausage in it, etc.

But back to my vision. I was thinking about casseroles since that time of year is about here and came up with the following. It's easy because almost every ingredient comes from a can, box, or envelope. You do need a three quart casserole dish though (the same size I make the banana pudding in--sorry, I'm keeping my exclusive on the banana pudding recipe). Purists will note the lack of Pimentos, add them if you like them.

Here goes:

Not My Mother's Arroz con Pollo

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (we buy frozen ones by the 4 lb. bag at Sam's)
1 10 oz. package Mahatma Yellow Rice
1 16 oz. can Campbells Healthy Request Chicken Broth
1 15 oz. can LeSeuer peas
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups water

Trim fat from chicken pieces. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place olive oil in a medium-hot skillet. Brown chicken pieces in olive oil turning chicken once until outside is golden brown. Set chicken aside, reserve olive oil.

Place rice mix, broth, water, and reserved olive oil (and any other skillet tidbits) in 3 Qt casserole. Stir to evenly distribute. Submerge chicken pieces in rice mixture. Cover, bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes. When ten minutes of cooking time remain, drain the peas and add them to the top of the casserole. Serves four.

So there it is. We have made this twice now with excellent results both times. If you think about it, you can change the seasoning and the rice and come up with a pretty good chicken jambalaya.

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