Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RECIPE - Guinea-fowl with Rice (Capote com Arroz)

This traditional Brazilian variation of the Spanish and Latin-American classic, arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) is made not with chicken but with guinea-fowl (capote in Portuguese). It can be made equally successfully, though, with standard chickens - as long as they are free-range. Battery-raised chickens won't have a deep-enough flavor profile to stand up to the seasonings.

This dish comes from the northeastern Brazilian state of Piauí, one of the hottest, driest and poorest regions in the country. Its capital, Teresina, is famous (infamous) for being one of the hottest cities in Brazil, with mid-day temperatures during the hot season regularly reaching above 40C (105F). Being almost landlocked, Piauí doesn't have the trade winds from the sea that cool neighboring states, resulting in the oven-like temperatures.

In Piauí this dish is often cooked early in the morning when temperatures are relatively cooler, and served at room temperature at mid-day. In the noontime heat, there is no premium placed on steaming-hot dishes, unlike in temperate and colder climatic conditions.
RECIPE - Guinea-fowl with Rice (Capote com Arroz)
Serves 4

1 guinea-fowl (or chicken), approximately 3 lbs (1.5 kg), cut into serving pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. annatto paste or powder (sweet paprika can be substituted)
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and minced
salt to taste
1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
4 cups water
3 cups long-grain rice, washed and drained
In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat with the garlic, annatto, tomato, onion, bell pepper and salt. Mix with hands, pressing the seasonings into the meat and ensuring that it is all covered with seasonings. Let stand for 30 minutes, covered, at room temperature, or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the seasoned guinea-fowl and brown thoroughly on all sides, approximately 15 minutes. Add 4 cups cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and tender.

Add the washed rice, bring once again to the boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender. Remove from heat, leave covered, and allow the dish to rest for 10 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora.


  1. Dear James, just to let you know, although it looks like people very seldom comment your posts, they are probably doing as I am, enjoying your informative writing in the quiet of our homes and taking it for granted... There was a couple of weeks a while back that your blog disappeared literally and I truly paniked ! So you deserve to know, you do count for my dailyhapiness. Thank you so much !

  2. And thank you, Mariam, for your kind words. Writing this blog is something that I do because I love doing it, but it is great to know that there are readers out there who are enjoying it, or finding out more about the world of Brazilian food culture. As we say in Brazil - muito obrigado!

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