This classic dish appears throughout many regions of the Americas because of its universal appeal and the Iberian heritage shared among Latin American countries. Other dishes with similar distinction include picadillo, empanadas, and rice pudding.
Several countries produce a clearly differentiated version of arroz con pollo (ah-ROHS cohn POH-yoh). In Peru, for example, the rice contains plentiful cilantro and the chicken comes in intact pieces; in Costa Rica, they use shredded chicken and serve the dish with potato chips.
This Mexican version of arroz con pollo includes large cubes of chicken and spicy green chilies. You can substitute mild green pepper if you prefer. This quick, easy, and flavorful preparation makes a great one-dish lunch or dinner.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or pork lard
- 1 small white onion (medium dice)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh green chilies (such as poblano, seeds and veins removed)
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, white or dark meat (cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (peeled and chopped)
- 3 3/4 cups homemade chicken broth or 2 (15 oz.) cans chicken broth
- 2 cups tomato puree or 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
- Salt to taste
- Garnishes: chopped onion, cilantro, diced chilies
- Heat the oil or lard in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and chilies for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they turn fragrant. Add the rice and cook it, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute, until it turns translucent.
- Add the chicken and garlic and cook it for about 2 more minutes, stirring once or twice. Pour in the broth, tomato puree, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately until the liquid barely simmers.
- Cover the pot and let it simmer undisturbed for 25 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit, without lifting the lid, for an additional 5 minutes (or up to half an hour).
- Serve arroz con pollo with a garnish of chopped onion, cilantro, or diced chilies.
Variations for Arroz con Pollo
Add a handful of veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, etc.) when you add the broth for extra color, flavor, and nutrition.
Use peeled and diced tomatoes instead of tomato puree if you prefer white rice with red specks.
Add a little bit of achiote paste to your arroz con pollo to give it an appealing yellow color.
Vary the type of chili pepper or bell pepper used—try a red pepper instead of a green one.
Edited by Robin Grose