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Arroz con Pollo

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
This can be a wonderful dish, or a mushy mess. Last night there was a show that featured Arroz con Pollo, and one of the dishes looked quite good, but there is/was no recipe available. Does anyone have a great recipe for this potentially delish dish?

What type of rice might work best for arroz con pollo?

post #2 of 7

First, the rice

Throughout Mexico and most of the Caribbean the most common rice is a type of long grain very much like basmati. If there are mercados or other hispanic stores in your neighborhood almost any brand will do. If not, look for Faraon, Tex-Mat or other domestic type basmati.

post #3 of 7

Then the recipe

Note: The rice/water amounts and cooking timing are calculated for a specific type of rice. If you're not using the same type of rice, consult your rice's package. Consult it anyway. What the hey?



10 to 12 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
3 cups long grain rice such as Faraon or Tex-Mati.
Extra virgin olive oil
Corn oil
(Optional: Spanish style chorizo; linguica; pepperoni; or andouille – cut in small pieces)
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1/2 medium red or green bell pepper, sliced in “ribbons” (slightly thicker than julienne)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4-1/4 cups chicken stock
3 to 4 tbs of Pico Pica sauce.
1/4 cup dry vermouth, or dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen green peas
Sliced pimentos (to taste)
Sliced pimento stuffed green olives (to taste)
1/2 tsp achiote (aka ground annato), or 2 tsp turmeric, or 1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano, rubbed
1/2 tsp thyme
Bay leaf
Sweet paprika
Smoked Paprika


Wash and dry the chicken. Season the skin side with salt, pepper, a good quality sweet paprika, and some smoked paprika.

In a 1 cup measuring cup mix the salsa fresca or Pico Pica, with two ounces of Vermouth, the achiote (or turmeric or saffron) then fill the remainder of the measure with stock. Mix and set aside.

Heat a heavy 12" saute pan, chicken fryer, rondeau, dutch oven, or similar. Add enough olive oil and corn oil, mixed 50/50, so there's 3/8" of oil in the pan. Bring the oil to frying temperature (350F to 375F). If using, add the optional sausage to flavor the oil. Remove it as soon as it’s well browned and set aside.

Brown and partially cook the chicken pieces in the following way: Add half the seasoned thighs, skin side down. Cook until they are well browned, around 7 minutes. Turn, and cook the bone side until browned, around 5 minutes. You want the chicken more than browned -- about half cooked. Set aside on a plate and do the remaining thighs in the same way. (It's important to brown in two batches because the thighs will not brown properly in an overheated pan).

During the browning the fat from the chicken skin will render into the oil, increasing the amount. Pour some off, leaving less than 1/4" of oil/fat. Add the onions and peppers. Sauté over high heat until the peppers begin to soften, add the oregano and thyme and a little salt and pepper. Add the garlic, and toss (or stir). Before the garlic can burn, add the riice and stir to coat with oil. Stir, toss or turn the rice, until it starts to become opaque. Do not allow rice to burn or stick to the pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Tuck the bay leaves into the rice. Tuck the bay leaves into the rice. Arrange the chicken evenly on top of the rice. Add the cup of hot sauce/wine/stock mixture. Raise heat to high, and add the remaining stock. Bring to a boil uncovered. When stock boils, reduce heat to a bare simmer and cover.

Simmer for 22 minutes, exactly. (In other words, use a timer. Don't trust yourself to look at your watch!) Turn flame off, but leave covered for five minutes. Open cover, remove the chicken and set aside. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Add all the peas, most of the pimento, and most of the olives. Toss with a fork to fluff rice. Close cover and leave for another five minutes.

Add most of the parsley and toss again. Plate by mounding the rice and laying the chicken around the edges of the mound. Decorate with the reserved parsley, pimento and olives.

Serve with fried plantains, and warm tortillas or "Cuban toast." Side with a plate of sliced avocado with thinly sliced onion, dressed with oil, lemon or lime juice and salt.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, BDL - this one's got some good concepts and ingredients. There are plenty of places around here to get any kind of rice desired. That's nota problem. Likewise for the Spanish chorizo and the various other ingredients.

I noticed that you didn't make a traditional soffrito - interesting :smiles:

post #5 of 7

Onions, peppers, garlic -- everything but the tomato -- and oops, forgot the thyme and oregano (consider it corrected). Enough tomato comes in with the salsa fresca. You want the rice yellow-orange, not red. Some of the spice comes into the oil when the chicken is browned. It would be more traditional to saute the achiote off with the aromatics, rather than add it in the broth but I didn't want to have several sets of branch instructions -- and it works just fine in the broth.

Sure, in the Bay Area you have access to everything (although I'd avoid Gourmet Ghetto for this particular shopping expedition). But others are not as fortunate as we.

Nice catch,
post #6 of 7
Hearing about this dish took me back in time. My mom used to make arroz con pollo and we loved it. As I think of what was in it, I realize she made sofrito for it. Not bad for a Russian-Jewish mother! That was back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Her recipe was simpler than yours, boar_d_laze, but it sure was good. :lips:
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
The first time I had arroz con pollo, in the summer of 1972, I thought it was pretty good. A neighbor made it, and I was impressed. As Igot to better understand cooking, and started cooking a little myself, I understood what a gooey, mushy mess his dish was, although ittasted pretty good at the time.

Over the years I've had the dish about ten times, and every time it was awful - chicken less than crisp and tasty, rice gooey or nushy. Never have I had good version of the dish. It's all been dreck.

BDL's recipe looks like it has promise .... and the arroz con pollo served at La Fonda Boricua in NYC is supposed to be very, very good. I'd love that recipe and technique. It may be shown again on Food Network, and I'll be sure to watch it being made very carefully.

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