Saturday, February 26, 2011

Arroz con Mollejas (Chicken Gizzards Rice)

Rice is a staple in Colombia eaten every day with lunch and dinner. We eat it white, in soups, with eggs, risottos and even as fritters. Also we dress it with different meats, seafood, grains, vegetables and spices like saffron, achiote, cumin and paprika. Also in the Colombian cuisine is very popular to use internal organs than in North America were discarded until the Offal movement started. We cook with tripe, liver, kidneys, hearts, tongue, rooster combs, chicken feet, gizzards, beef stomach, pig blood, lungs, etc. For this rice the meat component is chicken gizzards which have a very interesting texture and exceptional flavor.

Ingredients for 6 portions

2 pounds chicken gizzards, cleaned
2 cups long grain white rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup  frozen diced carrots
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 red chili seeded and chopped or 1/2 teaspoon of chili paste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon achiote or turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 chicken bouillon cube
8 cups water
 a pinch black ground pepper

Wash the gizzards under running water and clean carefully removing fat and food residual. Place in a pot with 8 cups water, chicken bouillon cube, garlic cloves and salt. Boil over medium- high heat for about 30-40 minutes until gizzards are cooked and soft and liquid reduces to half. Remove the gizzards and garlic cloves and keep broth to cook the rice.

Cut the gizzards in a cutting board to 1/2 inch pieces. Keep aside.

In a braiser, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions and scallion and cook for 3 minutes. Add green peas, carrots and corn kernels, cook for 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper, cumin, achiote or turmeric, paprika, chili and black pepper. Mix well, add chopped gizzards and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the rice in the center and mix well with the other ingredients, stir for 2 minutes. Add 4 cups of the warm broth where the gizzards were cooked. If you don't have 4 cups add chicken broth to complete. (Taste the salt because depending of the chicken bouillon and additional broth that you used you may need to add more). Bring to a boil and right away reduce to low heat and cover. Let cook for about 25-30 minutes. The rice must be fluffy and soft.

Serve hot and garnish with minced cilantro or plantain chips.