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Arroz Con Pollo (Cheesy Chicken and Rice)

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Embark on a culinary journey with our Arroz Con Pollo recipe, a tantalizing fusion of flavors that marries the classic Spanish dish with a cheesy, comforting twist. This Cheesy Chicken and Rice concoction will transport your taste buds to new heights of delight. Join us as we delve into the art of creating this savory masterpiece, perfect for family dinners or entertaining guests with a dish that celebrates the rich tapestry of flavors.

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For Rice:

  • 2 Cups Long Grain White Rice (Basmati Rice recommended)
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil (Avocado Oil used)
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 packet Sazon Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Chicken Flavored Bouillon
  • 16 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 4 Cups Water

For Chicken:

  • 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or thighs
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil (Avocado Oil used)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 packet Sazon Seasoning
  • 1 tsp each Salt and Pepper

For Cheese Sauce:

  • 12 oz Can of Evaporated Milk
  • 16 oz Queso Blanco Velveeta
  • 7 oz Can of Diced Chilis
  • 8 oz Grated Pepper Jack Cheese

Instructions:

1. Flavorful Rice Base:

  • In a large skillet, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and minced garlic, sautéing until onions are translucent.
  • Stir in Sazon Seasoning, Chicken Flavored Bouillon, and Basmati Rice, ensuring the rice is well-coated in the aromatic mixture.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and has absorbed the flavors.

2. Chicken Fiesta:

  • Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, Sazon Seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • In a separate skillet, heat butter and cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add seasoned chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on each side, ensuring they are fully cooked. Once cooked, shred the chicken.

3. Cheesy Delight:

  • In a saucepan, combine evaporated milk, Queso Blanco Velveeta, diced chilis, and grated pepper jack cheese. Stir continuously over medium heat until the cheese is fully melted, creating a luscious, spicy cheese sauce.

4. Combine and Bake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, shredded chicken, and half of the cheese sauce. Mix thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of flavors.
  • Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and drizzle the remaining cheese sauce over the top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden and bubbly.

5. Garnish and Serve:

  • Remove the Arroz Con Pollo from the oven, garnish with fresh cilantro, and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vibrant Veggie Addition: Enhance the dish by adding colorful bell peppers, peas, or corn to the rice for a burst of freshness.
  • Protein Swap: Experiment with different proteins such as shrimp or chorizo to create unique variations.
  • Spice It Up: Adjust the heat level by adding more diced chilis or incorporating a dash of hot sauce into the cheese sauce.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

Keto Arroz Con Pollo:

  • Replace Basmati Rice with cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative.
  • Use almond flour or xanthan gum as a thickening agent for the cheese sauce.

Low Carb Arroz Con Pollo:

  • Opt for cauliflower rice or shirataki rice to reduce carb content.
  • Choose a low-carb, sugar-free alternative for the tomato sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use brown rice instead of Basmati rice? A: Yes, you can substitute brown rice, but adjust the cooking time and liquid accordingly as brown rice requires more cooking time.

Q: Can I make the cheese sauce ahead of time? A: Certainly! Prepare the cheese sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat before drizzling over the dish.

Q: Is there a milder cheese option for the sauce? A: If you prefer a milder flavor, swap the pepper jack cheese for Monterey Jack or mozzarella.

Q: Can I freeze Arroz Con Pollo? A: While it can be frozen, the texture may change. Freeze individual portions and reheat in the oven or microwave.

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A Symphony of Savory Elegance

In conclusion, Arroz Con Pollo, with its Cheesy Chicken and Rice Fusion, is a celebration of vibrant flavors and culinary creativity. This recipe seamlessly melds the rich traditions of Spanish cuisine with the comforting allure of cheesy goodness. Whether you’re seeking a family-friendly dinner or an impressive dish for guests, this Arroz Con Pollo variation promises a symphony of savory elegance. So, dive into the layers of seasoned rice, succulent chicken, and spicy cheese sauce, and relish in the harmonious fusion that defines this delightful culinary creation.

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