In my lifetime I have never met anyone who has never had this classic dish! Arroz con Pollo is made in basically every Latin/Hispanic household and it’s a traditional dish that stems from Spain’s well-known paella. It is in fact like a paella for people who do not like seafood or cannot afford the extravagance of the ingredients that make up a paella. This dish utilizes the affordable chicken instead, but oh made correctly with the right ingredients, the taste of it can feel as if you are eating a feast fit for a king!
Puerto Ricans also do not use the more expensive food coloring known as “saffron” but instead use “annatto oil” (achioté – for the recipe on how to make achioté oil, click here) to give this dish that rich color and flavor that is known by us. Typically, this dish is made with a short grain Valencia-style rice and you are free to use that if you so choose. I on the other hand, prefer to use a long grain rice as I find that it is less starchy and less likely to be sticky – which I don’t like. We also use beer in this dish as well as many other dishes such as Pollo Guisado (braised stewed chicken) and asopao de pollo (chicken rice stew), but the key for us in this dish (aside from the chicken) is the sofrito (click here for the recipe). Most of our rice dishes are seasoned with sofrito and it is a key ingredient in this dish, as it differentiates our Arroz con Pollo from other Latin American versions. If you’ve been keeping up with my other Puerto Rican recipes I have listed on this blog, you will note that we do not cook without it!
You will not be disappointed with this dish and as if you needed another reason to make it, one other perk for this dish is the fact that it is considered a “one pot meal” and who wouldn’t want to be able to cook everything at once? Sure it has a lot of ingredients (which is a reason you may want to make it on a weekend), but once you mix everything you’re on your way to enjoying one delicious meal.
Yields Serves 8
A one-pot meal that you will find will turn ordinary chicken and rice into an elegant meal fit to be served on any special occasion or just because. Enjoy this classic dish with fried plantains and a salad.
- 1 large chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 8 even-size pieces, or use chicken thighs
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3-4 black peppercorns or 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
- 2 tbsps. lime juice or cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsps. olive oil
- 3 tbsps. of achioté oil (click here for the recipe)
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 Cubanelle pepper (optional), seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup of sofrito (click here for the recipe)
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 12-ounce beer
- 3 cups long grain rice
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 3-4 tbsps. alcaparrado, or to taste (optional)
- 2 tsps. dried oregano, finely ground in the palm of your hand to release flavor
- 2 tsps. kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup green peas, canned or frozen, thawed, for garnish
- 1 jar of roasted peppers (pimiento moron) for garnish
- In a mortar and pestle, combine garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, peppercorns and pound until mixture is paste-like.
- Add in lime juice or vinegar and olive oil. Stir with a spoon and season the chicken with this mixture.
- Let chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- In a Dutch Oven or large skillet, heat up the achioté oil and sauté the chicken over medium heat for at least 5 minutes (do not crowd the pot, if needed, sauté chicken in small batches). Drain and set chicken aside.
- Heat the olive oil in same pot and sauté onion and pepper until onion is translucent.
- Add sofrito, tomato sauce, beer, and chicken. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for at least 5 more minutes.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients except for the peas and roasted red peppers and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, once the liquid has evaporated somewhat, take a piece of aluminum foil and cover the pot with a lid and cook for 30 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove lid and foil, stir well. If there are still rice grains that are not yet cooked, cover once again and cook until all rice grains are cooked.
- To serve, arrange the rice and chicken on a platter and pour peas on top then finish garnishing with the roasted red peppers on top.
To take this meal over the top, serve with red beans, salad and platanos maduros (ripe plantains).