arroz con pollo

Picture recipe ("picturecipe") for Arroz con Pollo
Picture recipe for Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) has to be one of the most popular comfort foods in Hispanic/Latin kitchens. Growing up in Spain I enjoyed various versions of this dish, as every family makes it a little different. In traveling around Europe and the Middle East I encountered plenty of variations to this dish, not always with chicken but very similar.

Later on in my career working in the States with the backbone of America’s kitchen force, Mexicans, Brazilians, Ecuadorians, Colombians and many other Central and South American cultures, I quickly discovered that “arroz con pollo” was a classic favorite.

It was always a treat when we would get to try Ernesto’s versions of this dish, or Jorge’s–this is how my mother makes it, they would always say.

I still make a more Spanish version of this dish, not as spicy, nor heavily seasoned, but the recipe I’m sharing with you today is a combination of those other versions, the “arroz con pollo” of the world as I melted them into one recipe. My South American friends are always happy to eat it, and of course it’s not as good as their mother’s recipe, but close enough!

Buen provecho!

ingredients

  • 1 small chicken (3 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 tsps. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsps. paprika
  • 1/2 tsps. cayenne pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 chorizo sausage
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

instructions

Getting a whole chicken and breaking it down is always preferred. This way you have the whole range of flavors, dark and white meat, and all the flavor from the bones. Your butcher might also do this for you, or you might just get the breasts, or the thighs. Whatever you choose, I would recommend using “bone in” chicken.

Mix the cumin, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper with the olive oil and rub on the chicken pieces. Let those flavors mingle with the chicken for at least 20 minutes.

Cut the chorizo sausage in half, lengthwise–I prefer to remove its casing at this point–and then into slices (half moons). Dice your red pepper, the onion, and finely mince the garlic.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and brown chicken. (This is when my dog comes around hoping I will drop some chicken on the floor.)

Remove the chicken from the pot and sweat the onion, red pepper, garlic and bay leaves in the chicken fat and oil mixture. This vegetable base is called a “sofrito.”

After the sofrito has acquired a little color, add the chorizo sausage and saute lightly. Mix in the rice and stir to coat with the sofrito. Pour in your tomatoes, the water, the chicken, and the chicken base (or 3 cups of chicken stock). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Turn heat off and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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19 Replies to “arroz con pollo”

  1. Hi Daniel,
    This looks like an easy enough recipe for today’s menu at my post Xmas dinner party at my house.
    I have questions about Paella another Spanish favorite…
    I know it’s made just like a rice pilaf, meaning you fry the rice in the beginning then add a broth/liquid, but is it traditional to allow the rice to get crispy on the bottom of the pan?
    I fry all the ingredients, add the liquid and finish off in the oven.
    Does it matter? What do you thinK?
    Thanks
    Chef Melinda

    1. Chef Melinda,
      It’s a great and easy recipe.
      There are many paella recipes. Toasting the rice at the beginning is a traditional way to start this dish. The rice will get a little crispy as the stock is absorbed, but be careful not to burn it! The oven will give you even heat and will prevent burning the rice in the bottom of the pan, excellent idea!

      Chef Daniel

    1. Chef Melinda,

      The chicken goes back in the pot after the water and the tomatoes. At this point the chicken is not fully cooked, but it will finish cooking in the stock.

      Chef Daniel

  2. Ok, maybe two or more little comments…1) Isn’t okay to substitute long grain rice, and #2) Call me crazy, but this recipe is almost identical to Chicken Jambalaya…All you need is to add celery, to create the trinity with the bell pepper and onion, and thyme to the paprika,oregano, mixture. You’ve even included the bay leaf. It’s basically the same recipe..!
    And I substitute the Andouille for spicy sausages of any type…If you add smoked paprika, that would take care of the lack of smoky sausage flavor that you get from Andouille. And viola’ Jambalaya…Oh, add some shrimp and clams too and it gets even better…:-)
    Chef Melinda

    1. Chef Melinda,
      Long grain rice is an ok substitute. In Spain short grains are more common, and as you can see, the moment you start to make little changes, rice, vegetables, sausage, it quickly turns into a different dish. This again tells you how popular this dish is worldwide.

      Buen Provecho,

      Chef Daniel

  3. Hey is that a “Chamber’s” range in your photo? Looks like one I had years ago, Rachel Ray uses one on the set of 30 minute meals too.Pre WW2, built with Nazi parts. Take a look inside.
    I’m making Gumbo tomorrow. I’ve made stock out of the body of the organic chicken I cut up from the Arroz Con Pollo.
    So, what to do, what to do with the leftover body?
    Don’t toss it, throw it in the crock pot with the neck, celery, carrots and unpeeled halved spanish onion and water. My little muslin sachet of thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, 3 cloves and let it cook all night on a low setting. Let cool and refrigerate, strain and start the gumbo…
    I get the oil super hot then add the flour, stirring constantly for the making of the roux. And it has to be started in a cast iron pan…Or forget it… Guess who taught me the hot oil first trick? Chef Paul Prudhomme.I met him while visiting in New Orleans. Got a tour of his Magic Seasonings huge warehouse. That little trick is what he does.. Saves so much time. The flour turns dark mocha brown in half the time.
    Add the trinity next, saute until the onions are clear, then that add your stock,with another homemade muslin sachet( you can get at a cooking supply store) I add to it, Thyme, parsley,paprika,garlic,bay leaf, and oregano.
    I’ve already cut up yet another chicken and slightly floured, seasoned, pre browned it and just like your Arroz Con Pollo,it’s added with the andouille or some sort of spicy smokey sausage. Cook for at least and hour and 1/2. Season, and serve with a scoop of white steamed rice in the middle…YUM! If you want it thicker add okra while cooking, or file’ gumbo powder, at service.
    Enjoy..!

    1. Chef Melinda,

      I love all your comments. You provide a lot of information!
      And yes, we have a Chambers 90C Super Deluxe, a model that Chambers made in the 50s. As far as we can tell, like all Chambers stoves it was made in Shelbyville, Indiana. If you are interested in the stoves, there is an excellent website at http://www.chamberstoves.net/ where you can learn more.
      Another thing I really like about your post is that you explain something I try to teach everyone–the magic of using leftovers!
      You can make great meals with a little of this and a little of that. Just keep a few things in your pantry, and a little imagination, makes a great meal.
      I’ll bring this up again, and again–these tips are sure to help you save some money!
      Buen Provecho,

      Chef Daniel

  4. Thank you so much, this was a good read. I was actually born in Madrid ( not telling what year though!) but moved around various parts of europe and lastly settled in the UK when I was 7. I dont remember much of the few years I was in spain, but the smell of spanish food always seems to ring a bell in me or something. Funny, how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn’t it! I actually found a website dedicated to spanish recipes, which gave me great delight and thought I really should to share with your readers. Anyway, thank you again. I’ll get my son to add your feed to my rss thing…

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