I wake up in a strange kitchen with no windows. I have no idea how I got there. All the doors are locked. I am alone. There is a note on a nearby table.
"You're to cook dinner for six people tonight, using anything in this fully stocked kitchen. You will not be told who'll be eating your food, or even what country you are in.
When it's ready, ring the bell on the table, and then lock yourself in the room at the back of the kitchen. There's a selection of old People Magazines for you to read while you wait.
If they enjoy your offering, you will wake up back in your San Francisco kitchen with no memory of this evening. If they do not like what you've made, you'll be terminated."
Well, that's just great – and I never even got to see the first season of Mad Men. Okay, so the preceding science fiction scenario is a little far-fetched, but if that were my predicament, what would I prepare? That's a no-brainer –Arroz Con Pollo, also known as Chicken and Rice.
Everybody likes chicken and rice. Just about every major culture has some sort of version of this archetypal recipe (by the way, people from minor cultures please save your emails). This is pure down-to-the-bone comfort food that I'm sure my mysterious captors would love. In fact, I'd bet my life on it. Enjoy!
Tech Note: This video recipe was filmed a while ago on my regular, non-awesome HD equipment. I used to think this stuff looked pretty good, but now, not so much.
Note: To see how I cut up a chicken into serving size pieces, watch this Buttermilk Fried Chicken video recipe!
1 whole chicken, cut in serving pieces
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/3 cup sliced green olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp fine table salt)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups white long grain rice
4 cups chicken broth