HEALTH

Costa Rican Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)

White rice is loaded with carbs, but there are things far worse. In this version of chicken and rice, we baked a whole chicken and loaded the rice with fresh vegetables. The mix of vegetables will add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to the meal.

Ingredients:

• 1-3lb. whole roasted chicken
• 2 tablespoons annatto oil
• 4 cups chicken stock
• ½ cup green pepper, chopped
• ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
• ¼ cup celery, diced
• ½ cup onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tomatoes, chopped
• 1 medium carrot, grated
• ¼ cup corn, frozen
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• 2 cups rice
• ½ cup frozen peas
• 1 tablespoon Spanish olives, chopped

Directions:

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and anything else you wish. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for about an hour. While chicken is roasting, prepare and cut all veggies.
2. Bring annatto oil to medium heat. Then add onions, green and red peppers, celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
3. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté another minute.
4. Add carrots, corn, cilantro and mix until well blended.
5. Season with salt and pepper, add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
6. Add rice, peas, and olives to the pot. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until rice is cooked.
7. Once the chicken is ready, let it rest for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and shred using 2 forks.
8. Add shredded chicken and its juices to the rice. Mix until well-combined.

Annatto Oil Recipe:

To make the oil, heat ½ cup of vegetable oil over medium heat and add ¼ cup of annatto or achiote seeds (found in the international aisle of your supermarket). Heat until the seeds begin to sizzle and the oil turns a bright orange. About 5 minutes. Strain the oil and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Healthier Alternative:

- Substitute with brown rice, a source of fiber, calcium and B vitamins.
- Use lean chicken breast only, a great source of protein and vitamin B12.

Serves 6-8

Elizabeth Carrion, a Dominican, co-founded Mi Cocina, a New Jersey-based catering service that also offers cooking classes, with her sister, Ana Martinez.