What Is Arroz Con Pollo?
Arroz con pollo means "rice with chicken" in Spanish. It is a classic dish of Spain and Latin America, with many different traditional ways to prepare it, unique to various countries.
An arroz con pollo you find in Cuba may be quite different than one you find in Peru. Please read the comments at the end of this recipe to see some wonderful classic versions of this dish.
My Family's Recipe for Arroz Con Pollo
What follows is my mother's basic arroz con pollo recipe, which she adjusts depending on her mood and what she has on hand. For instance, she might substitute chipotle chile powder or red chile powder for the paprika.
We never use saffron in our arroz con pollo, but many people do. You can also add chopped bell peppers (cook with the onions) or peas (mix in at the end). It's an easy, stove-top, one pan dish, great for family meals.
How to Make Arroz Con Pollo Your Own
As-is, this recipe is flavorful, but because there are so many variations of arroz con pollo throughout Latin America and Spain, this recipe is also customizable.
- Use different rice, such as jasmine or saffron-flavored rice (check the package, since the ratio of liquid to rice may be different).
- Make it with cauliflower rice.
- Add pimento, chopped olives, or peas.
- Increase the garlic.
- Instead of fresh tomatoes, use regular canned diced tomatoes or ones with green chilies.
- Substitute picante sauce for the tomatoes.
- Add a pinch of saffron.
- Add a pinch of smoked paprika.
- Add corn.
- Cover the dish with a Mexican cheese such as queso fresco or queso crema.
- Substitute boneless, skinless thighs or chicken breasts for the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.
How to Freeze and Reheat Arroz Con Pollo
Frozen arroz con pollo freezes well. Cool, then freeze in freezer-safe containers or zip top bags.
Defrost the arroz con pollo in the refrigerator. Reheat, covered, in an oven-safe dish at 350°F until chicken and rice are heated through, about 45 minutes. Or, reheat on the stovetop in a covered pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken and rice are heated through.
Fresh Salads to Pair with Arroz Con Pollo
- Citrusy Cabbage Salad with Cumin and Coriander
- Tomato, Cucumber Purslane Salad
- Spring Vegetable Salad with Asparagus, Peas and Radishes
- Radicchio Salad with Citrus
- No Mayo Coleslaw
Arroz Con Pollo
Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.
You can skip the flour dredging part if you want. It just makes a nicer coating for the chicken.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 broiler-fryer chicken, about 2 1/2-3 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs or breasts, bone-in, with skin on, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup flour for dredging
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups medium or long-grain white rice
- 3 cups chicken stock (see note above about the ratio of liquid to rice)
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
- Pinch of oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Brown the chicken pieces:
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large 12-inch skillet that has a cover on medium high heat.
Put the flour in a wide bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put them in the pan to brown.
Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside.
Brown the rice:
Add the uncooked rice to the pan to brown. Stir to coat the rice with olive oil in the pan. Add a little more olive oil if necessary.
Don't stir too much or you will prevent it from browning. Let the rice brown and then stir a little to let more of it brown.
Add onion and garlic:
Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook the onion, garlic, and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.
Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the rice.
Add stock, tomato, salt, oregano:
In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt, and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken.
Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package, until the rice and chicken are done.
Fluff the rice with a fork. If you want you can sprinkle with some peas. Add more salt and pepper to taste.