A classic Cuban dish of Arroz Con Pollo a la Chorrera, but with a pork twist instead of chicken.
For those days when I cannot decide what to prepare for dinner, I like to prepare dishes like arroz con carne. I quickly flip through the pages of my favorite Hispanic cookbooks. On this night, I decided to skim through Gran Cocina Latina cookbook. The recipes is there are from all over Latin America and are pretty easy to follow. I started with some boneless pork steaks that I had already began simmering with a soup dish in mind. The recipe that caught my attention was a Cuban dish called Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera or Soupy Chicken and Rice. The author lovingly described how it was a family favorite that her Dad would prepare. I adapted the recipe with the ingredients that I had on hand and was very happy with the results. This was how I learned to cook at home. I was always amazed how our mothers and grandmothers could take basic ingredients and create dishes the whole family enjoyed.
In a large pot, combine the ingredients for the pork stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook partially covered for 1 to 1 -1/2 hours. Skim off the top when needed. Remove pork from stock and slice into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Strain the stock, discard the solids and reserve the stock.
For the Rice
In a separate pot, add oil and annato seeds. Heat to medium. As soon as the oil heats up and the annatto seeds release their bright color into the oil, remove seeds and discard.
Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Turn heat up slightly and add pork. Cook, stirring often until pork browns nicely. Reduce heat slightly, add the onion, poblano pepper (or green bell pepper) and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the cumin, oregano, bay leaves and fresh tomato sauce. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup cooking wine and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add 4 cups of reserved pork stock, olives, capers, pimientos (or tomatoes) and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste for salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
The rice should be mostly cooked now and the dish should look a little soupy. Fluff with fork, add peas evenly to the top. Cover again and cook at lowest setting for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Fluff with fork again just to combine all ingredients. To serve, Spoon pork and rice into serving bowls and ladle some reserved warm pork stock over the top. Just enough to make it “soupy.” I decided to add the extra stock over the top at the last minute and we really enjoyed it this way. Garnish with a little fresh cilantro or parsley and lemon.
Just as with chicken and pork, this dish can be prepared with shrimp as well. Substitute the homemade pork stock with a store bought chicken broth. Add the shrimp during the last 10 minutes of cooking time.