Arroz con Pollo

Everybody in north America has had some kinda arroz con pollo at some point in life, I’m betting. Arroz con pollo; chicken with rice. It’s a one-pot meal (as long as you don’t eat too many vegetables 😉 ) and it’s beautiful to look at. It kind of reminds me of paella and I’m shocked that that thought has just now — just this second — come into my head. Why’d I never think of that before?

arroz con pollo

It’s cooked in a similar way and uses many of the same ingredients as paella but to me, it’s a more approachable fare since it uses plain old long grain rice, any chicken pieces you want, and no saffron. At least, my recipe doesn’t use saffron.

Instead I add some turmeric for a pretty yellow color. Some recipes call for safflower stamens (aka “bastard saffron”) which can often be found in Latin groceries under the name “azafran en flor” and it’s cheap as hell, y’all. You could maybe try some annatto (achiote) powder, too; it would add a different flavor but I bet it would be a good difference!

For the chicken, I usually buy a whole chicken and cut it up, using half of the pieces — thighs and halved breasts — for arroz con pollo and using the legs, wings and other assorted pieces to make a rich chicken stock, then pick the meat from that to make chicken tortilla soup. Two meals from one chicken! But of course, you are welcome to use just thighs or drumsticks or even boneless chicken breast if you want. I do recommend keeping the skin on any cut you decide to use. It adds great flavor and keeps the chicken juicy.

For a vegetable side dish, I like roasted cabbage with cumin seeds or simple, sauteed zucchini and onions or this cucumber and orange salad.

arroz con pollo

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Arroz con Pollo

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (see headnote)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a large onion)
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots (1-2 carrots)
  • 1/4 cup diced celery (1 stalk)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (or 1/4 cup green bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup tomato
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or veg broth (or salted water in a pinch)
  • Optional garnish: parsley, cilantro, lemon or lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Mix spices together and coat chicken pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high and brown chicken on all sides. Remove.
  3. Add onion, carrots, celery, jalapeno and tomato and cover; cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. By then the moisture from the vegetables should make it easy to scrape the bits from bottom of the pan. Do that.
  4. Add garlic and tomato paste and a tablespoon or two of water if it’s sticking. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until tomatoes have broken down and mixture is thick.
  5. Add the turmeric and cook 30 more seconds.
  6. Add rice and stir to get grains coated. Add the broth and stir.
  7. Nestle chicken pieces skin side up into the rice. Pour any accumulated juiced from the bowl into the skillet.
  8. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer.
  9. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 30 minutes. Rotate the pan occasionally to cook evenly. Turn off heat and allow to sit, covered, another 10-20 minutes.
  10. Garnish with parsley, lemon or lime wedges

arroz con pollo

Comments

  1. Holly Brown says:

    Going to try this , tonight. 🙂

  2. Looks Delish! Thanks Hila. I’m going to give it a go tonight. I even have all of the ingredients in my kitchen. No trip to the store ☺️

  3. You are eclipsing Irma’s, “The Joy of Cooking” My kitchen sissy bible from infancy! Everything about your style shouts freedom, full gallup, head high, never been restrained by halter or hobble.

  4. pat Soltis says:

    Hello, Hilah,

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve commented on your recipe posts, but I have enjoyed reading them and cooking some of them.

    This past Monday (the “official” holiday) I was alone but not lonely. I made a Turkish short-grain rice pilaf with eggplant, tomatoes, pine nuts, black pepper, cumin, and allspice. I was pleased with the results.

    Hope Chris and Flint are well and happy.

    pts

    • Hi Pat!
      Your pilaf sounds delicious. Where do you get your pine nuts? I had a bad experience with “pine nut mouth” a few years ago and have been shy of them since.

  5. Milagritos says:

    I’m Peruvian and until this very moment I thought my arroz con pollo was great. Then yours came into my inbox. Hats off to you Hilah! I’m going to make your arroz next weekend for a big family gathering – I’m sure it’ll be a hit!

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