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Papa's Pepper Pollo Loco with Queso


Papa's Pepper Pollo Loco with Queso
(Courtesy of Spencer from @spencerthecook from Instagram ... )
This is all the proof you need that you don't have to sacrifice flavor in a quick meal!  This Pollo Loco with Queso comes together quickly and packs all the savory, smokey, spicy flavors that you will love!  I garnished mine with quick pickled diced peppers but diced tomatoes would work as well.  Regardless of what you garnish it with, you'll be making this dish again and again because it's that good and that easy!

2lbs. Boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
1lb. Parboiled rice
3C Chicken stock
3T Canola oil
1/4C Tomato paste
1T Lizano Costa Rica salsa (you can sub with Worcestershire sauce)
2T Adobo seasoning
1T Smoked paprika
1T Papa's Pepper premium spice blend

Diced pickled peppers for garnish

For queso:
3T butter
2T Cornstarch
1C Milk
1lb. White American cheese
1 7oz. Can diced green Chiles
1t Fresh ground black pepper
1/2t Granulated garlic
1t Papa's Pepper premium spice blend (optional)

For the chicken:

Mix all dry spices together, sprinkle over chicken and mix well with your hands, coating chicken in dry spices.  Let chicken sit while you make the queso (or in the fridge for up to 60 minutes).  Once the queso is made heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Once the oil starts to smoke add chicken to Dutch oven.  Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all pieces are golden brown.  Add rice to chicken and stir continuously to start cooking rice, 3-4 minutes.  Add chicken stock, tomato paste and Costa Rica salsa and stir to incorporate.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Fluff and check rice for tenderness.  Rice should be tender but firm to bite.  Place a serving on a plate and top with queso and freshly diced pickled peppers.

For the queso:

Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted add cornstarch and stir for 3-4 minutes to cook cornstarch.  Add milk and stir.  Once the bechamel starts to thicken add cheese a little at a time, once it melts into the sauce, add a little more cheese until all the cheese has been used. Add green Chiles, pepper, garlic and Papa's Pepper (if using)stir to incorporate.  If sauce is too thick you can add milk a couple tablespoons at a time to reach desired consistency.  Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking.