Arroz Con Pollo
Arroz Con Pollo, which translates to “rice with chicken,” is a classic Spanish and Latin American dish that has captured the hearts and palates of people around the world. This delightful one-pot meal combines tender chicken pieces, aromatic rice, and a medley of vibrant spices and vegetables. In this article, we’ll take a culinary journey through the steps to create a mouthwatering Arroz Con Pollo that will transport your taste buds to the streets of Spain or the vibrant markets of Latin America.
For the Chicken:
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
For the Sofrito:
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
- 1/2 cup of pimento-stuffed green olives
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Rice:
- 2 cups of long-grain white rice
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of white wine (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- Fresh cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
1. Season and Brown the Chicken:
Begin by seasoning the chicken thighs and drumsticks generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet or a traditional paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and let them sizzle until they attain a beautiful golden brown color. Once done, remove the chicken and set it aside.
2. Prepare the Sofrito:
In the same skillet, add the finely chopped onions and bell peppers. Sauté them until they turn soft and translucent, releasing their sweet aroma, which forms the heart of the sofrito. This typically takes about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and diced tomato, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
3. Add the Rice and Spices:
Stir in the rice, ground cumin, paprika, and saffron threads if you’re opting for the traditional touch. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the rice is thoroughly coated with the sofrito mixture, absorbing all those delightful flavors.
4. Combine Chicken and Broth:
Now, return the browned chicken pieces to the skillet. For an extra layer of flavor, pour in the white wine if it’s part of your recipe. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, frozen peas, and the pimento-stuffed green olives. Season once more with salt and pepper to achieve the perfect balance of tastes.
5. Simmer and Cook:
Bring this fragrant concoction to a gentle boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the skillet with a fitting lid, letting it cook for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through. If the rice absorbs all the liquid before it’s fully done, you can always add a splash more of chicken broth.
6. Serve and Enjoy:
Once your Arroz Con Pollo is ready, remove it from the heat, and don’t forget to discard the bay leaves. To add a touch of freshness, garnish the dish with sprigs of fresh cilantro and serve it with lime wedges on the side. This vibrant and aromatic masterpiece is now ready to be savored.
In conclusion, Arroz Con Pollo is more than just a meal; it’s a culinary journey that captures the essence of Spanish and Latin American cuisine. Its rich and diverse flavors, along with the simplicity of preparation, make it a favorite for family gatherings, special occasions, or even a comforting weeknight dinner. So, gather your ingredients, embark on this flavorful adventure, and savor the delightful harmony of Arroz Con Pollo today!
- 1 TBS Each dried oregano, ground cumin
- 2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, salt
- 1 1/2 tsp EACH ground garlic powder, onion powder
- 1 tsp EACH ground coriander, chili powder, pepper
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, ground turmeric
- Pinch – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
15 Minute Chicken Marinade:
- part Spice Mix in directions
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs skin removed
- 4 chicken drumsticks skin removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 tablespoon drained capers optional
- 2 cups basmati rice well rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons reserved Spices in directions
- 1 12 oz. jar roasted red bell peppers drained and chopped – optional
- 1 15 oz. can can fire roasted diced tomatoes well drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup pimento stuffed olives
- 1 cup frozen petite peas thawed
- chopped cilantro
Whisk together all of the seasonings mix in a large bowl (large enough to hold chicken). Remove 2 ½ tablespoons Seasoning to use later. To the remaining seasoning in the bowl, whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar (it will be thick). Add chicken and massage spices into chicken. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large deep heavy skillet (oven proof with lid) over medium. Add chicken and cook until golden, 3-5 minutes pers side. Remove to a plate.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive in now empty skillet. Add onions, bell peppers and capers and cook, scraping up the bottom brown bits from the chicken (flavor!) until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Add rice, garlic and Reserved Seasonings and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in roasted bell peppers, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth. Bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered for 3 minutes. Nestle chicken into the top of the rice in a single layer, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Bake 20-25 minutes (stirring at 10 minutes) OR until chicken registers 175 degrees, the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If the rice seems dry and beginning to scorch before its tender, stir in additional ¼ cup broth or water.
Remove from oven and stir in peas and olives, cover and let stand for 10 minutes (the rice will absorb the rest of the liquid). Fluff rice with a spatula, garnish with cilantro and serve warm. If you omitted the capers, you may want to garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice.
- I use a 3 ½ quart cast-iron enamel braiser that measures 11 1/2″ in diameter by 2 1/2″ high. You will want to use a similar oven proof dish/skillet with a tight-fitting lid.
- If you don’t have an oven proof skillet, you can transfer the chicken and rice to an oven safe baking dish, just be aware baking times will vary.
- If you don’t have a lid, you may cover your oven proof dish tightly with foil. If your seal isn’t tight, then heat and water will escape resulting in undercooked rice and drier chicken.
- You can use all chicken thighs or all drumsticks. If you use all drumsticks, you will want to use 10 instead of 8 because they are smaller than thighs.
- I prefer to remove the skin from my chicken because I like the texture better and feel less guilty devouring multiple servings without it. I also find the chicken is just as flavorful without the skin. That being said, you can absolutely leave the skin on your chicken if you prefer. You will want to sear the chicken for a decent amount of time to render the fat, otherwise you will be left with soggy chicken and greasy rice.
- You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but they will not be as juicy. If you choose to use chicken breasts, then you will want to use small chicken breasts or chicken fillets/large chicken breasts cut in half through the equator so they will cook in the allotted 25 minutes.
- I also highly recommend you brine you chicken breasts first. Brining will increase their moisture capacity and render them much more tender.
- To brine your chicken breasts, mix 4 cups warm water with ¼ cup KOSHER salt in a shallow glass dish or freezer bag. Stir until the salt dissolves. Add chicken and let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes – NO longer! Remove chicken from the brine, rinse in cold water and pat dry.
- You may use traditional long grain white rice, but it is not as forgiving as basmati and can become mushy easily.
- Basmati rice, on the other hand, is extremely forgiving. Basmati grains are longer than traditional white rice and cook up lighter and fluffier. The individual grains remain distinct when cooked instead of sticking together which means no more clumpy or mushy rice!
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 7
Amount Per ServingCalories 3403Total Fat 180gSaturated Fat 42gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 131gCholesterol 1128mgSodium 2696mgCarbohydrates 208gFiber 35gSugar 47gProtein 258g
The information contained herein is subject to change.