{ah…comfort food} arroz caldo

After having a nasty cold for a week, Mike started feeling better Sunday…because the cold bounced from him to me. That’s the story. I’m sick. Getting a cold never comes at a convenient time but I’ve got a race Sunday. Bad, bad timing. {Hmmm..I was also sick last time this year for the same race. Perhaps someone is trying to tell me something.} Even though I really wanted to do my long run Sunday, I’m glad I skipped it. I think it would have done more harm than good. Instead, I was a big slug. Slept, drank hot liquids and watched most of the 2nd season of Spartacus. Sidebar: How cool is it that you can watch network and premium t.v. programming on your iPad with the xfinity app if you are a subscriber?! Okay, back to the cold. When I was little and someone in our family was not feeling well, my grandmother would often make arroz caldo {in our house, because my family speaks pampangan – a dialect from a Philippine province on the island of Luzon – we called it lelut}, a simple chicken and rice stew. It’s richness makes it the perfect comfort food and with it’s garlic and ginger, soothing. Maybe it’s an old wives’ tale that garlic and ginger can help relieve some cold symptoms, but maybe they do. My mind thinks they’re helpful so to the store I went, in all my sickie glory, complete with sweats and baseball cap, picked up the small list of items and made this great gloomy day stew. It was the perfect late lunch. Calmed my stomach, made my taste buds happy they were treated to something yummy and not more Theraflu and warmed me up. Here’s the recipe. Any kind of rice stew never really photographs well so imagine all the aromatic garlic and ginger wafting from the bowl. It will make you smile. 
Arroz Caldo
serves 4
2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 2″ piece of ginger, peeled + minced {about 2 tbsp.}
6 scallions, white and light green parts only thinly sliced {divided: 4 for the stew, 2 reserved for garnish}
pinch of saffron
4 chicken wings
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 3″ pieces
Kosher salt
ground white pepper
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup rice {I use Jasmine but any short grain will work}
fish sauce to taste
In a large pot with a thick bottom, sauté the onion over medium heat until they are translucent, not browned; about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, 4 scallions and saffron. Stir and cook until aromatic; about 2 more minutes. While this is cooking, salt and pepper the chicken. Remove onion mixture from pot. Raise heat to medium high and brown chicken, 2 minutes per side. Return onion mixture back to the pot and add chicken stock, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached, reduce heat, cover and let chicken cook for 15 minutes over a low simmer. Add rice, stir, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Taste stew and if you would like more salt, add fish sauce to taste. Divide between bowls and sprinkle remaining scallion slices on top. 
Some people like a little acid with the stew and will squeeze lime juice on top. For those in warmer zones, you may be able to find calamansi, a small, juice lime-like citrus fruit, which is what’s traditionally served along side the dish. I like it without, but don’t let me stop you. Squeeze away!
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2 Responses to {ah…comfort food} arroz caldo

  1. heather cramer says:

    Hi (again!) We tried this last night and it was delicious! (by the way, I’ve not formally introduced myself – I’m Chris’s wife. 🙂 I feel like I know you via christmas cards!) I really liked this with lime juice and Chris added peanuts to his. I really enjoy your recipes and photos. – heather

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