Recipes · Cooking tips · Techniques

Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Chicken and Rice)

Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Chicken and Rice)

Arroz con Pollo is a traditional Cuban dish made with chicken and yellow rice. Like many Cuban dishes, it’s not fancy but it is hearty, soul-satisfying comfort food.

 

This arroz con pollo recipe isn’t particularly difficult to make. And the ingredients are easy enough to find. It does take time and patience. In the end, you will be rewarded with a big pot of delicious chicken and rice.

 

If you’d like try more Cuban chicken dishes, try this chicken fricassee, this vaca frita de pollo, or this super easy chicken steak.

 

 

Do I use dark meat or white meat in the arroz con pollo?

 

It’s best to use dark meat in this Cuban arroz con pollo recipe. There is a long cooking time required to cook the rice. That long cooking time will make white meat chicken dry out.

 

Instead, use chicken thighs, chicken drums or both. Skin on and bone in chicken will add great flavor and the dark meat can stand long cooking times without drying out.

 

 

To make this arroz con pollo you will need

 

8 pieces of Dark Meat Chicken, bone in and skin on (about 2½-3 pounds)

2½ teaspoons Salt, divided – plus ½ – 1 teaspoon to add at the end if needed

4 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion, finely diced

3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced

½ teaspoon Dried Oregano

½ teaspoon Paprika

¼ teaspoon Turmeric

¼ teaspoon Cumin

¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

2 tablespoon Tomato Paste

¼ cup White Wine

2 cups Long Grain White Rice

4 cups Chicken Broth

1 cup Water

1 Bay Leaf

12 ounces Light Beer, room temperature

15 ounce can Sweet Peas for garnish, drained – optional

 

 

Prep Work

 

Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Season it with 1 teaspoon of salt. Then, dice the onions, mince the garlic and measure out the rest of the ingredients.

 

Add the remaining 1½ teaspoon of salt, oregano, paprika, turmeric, cumin and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir the seasoning mix to combine.

The ingredients for arroz con pollo arranged on a wood cutting board.

 

 

Brown the chicken

 

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken, skin side down.

 

Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes.

 

Remove the pot from the heat. I just move it over to an empty burner. Remove the chicken from the pot and set on a plate or pan.

 

Tent the chicken with a piece of foil, to keep it warm. Or, keep the chicken in the microwave or oven. It will stay warm away from drafts.

 

Don’t worry that the chicken is not cooked all the way through. It will finish cooking with the rice.

 

Some of the chicken skin might come off during the browning process, that’s ok. The chicken skin will flavor the sofrito beautifully. Just make sure to gently scrape it off the bottom of the pot while you cook the onions so it doesn’t burn.

 

 

What’s a Sofrito?

 

Sofrito is the base of many Cuban dishes. It adds a unique and deep flavor to all kinds of dishes. A sofrito is a combination of aromatic ingredients sautéed in a little bit of oil.

 

In Cuban Cuisine, sofrito is used in soups, stews, seafood dishes, bean dishes, certain meat dishes and rice dishes.

 

The Ingredients used in a sofrito vary from household to household but the concept remains the same. The essential ingredients are onions, garlic and tomato.

 

These ingredients are cooked gently (sautéed) in oil. Usually olive oil, but that can vary. Other typical sofrito ingredients include: bell peppers, oregano and cumin.

 

 

Make the sofrito

 

Do not wash the pot. Set it back over medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

 

Next, add the tomato paste and the prepared seasoning mix, to the pot. Stir well until combined.

 

Carefully, add the white wine to the pot and stir, while gently scraping any bits off the bottom. Cook for 1 minute, or until most of the wine cooks out.

 

 

Make the arroz con pollo

 

Add the rice, chicken broth, water, and the bay leaf to the pot. Stir well to combine.

 

Add the chicken back to the pot, along with any juices collected on the plate. Arrange the chicken in the pot so it’s not stacked. It should be covered with the broth, it needs to finish cooking.

 

Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir the rice frequently while waiting for the liquid to come to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

The rice should be visible on the surface. It should not sink to the bottom of the pot when stirred.

 

Give everything a good stir. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook the chicken and rice for 20 minutes. Give everything a good stir after 10 minutes. Then stir again after the 20 minutes.

 

Taste a little bit of the rice. If it needs a salt, this is the time to add it. As a reference, I added just a little over ½ teaspoon of salt to our arroz con pollo. Stir well.

 

 

Time for the beer

 

Raise the heat to medium-low and slowly add the beer, while stirring. Cover and cook the chicken and rice for approximately 20 minutes.

 

Taste the rice, if it’s still not done, lower the heat to low and let it steam another 15 minutes or until done.

 

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Serve the arroz con pollo and garnish with sweet peas, if desired.

A close up picture of arroz con pollo, garnished with sweet peas and served on a white plate.

 

Serves 6

 

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo is a traditional Cuban dish made with chicken and yellow rice. Like many Cuban dishes, it’s not fancy but it is hearty, soul-satisfying comfort food.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: arroz con pollo, chicken and yellow rice, chicken recipes, cuban chicken recipes, cuban food
Servings: 6
Calories: 627kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 pieces of Dark Meat Chicken bone in and skin on (about 2½-3 pounds)
  • teaspoons Salt divided – plus ½ - 1 teaspoon to add at the end if needed
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely diced
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • ¼ cup White Wine
  • 2 cups Long Grain White Rice
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 12 ounces Light Beer room temperature
  • 15 ounce can Sweet Peas for garnish drained - optional

Instructions

Prep Work

  • Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Season it with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Add the remaining 1½ teaspoon of salt, oregano, paprika, turmeric, cumin and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir the seasoning mix to combine.
  • Dice the onions, mince the garlic and measure out the rest of the ingredients.

Brown the chicken

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken, skin side down.
  • Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the chicken from the pot and set on a plate or pan.
  • Tent the chicken with a piece of foil, to keep it warm. Don’t worry that the chicken is not cooked all the way through. It will finish cooking with the rice.

Make the sofrito

  • Do not wash the pot. Set it back over medium heat and add the onions.
  • Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Next, add the tomato paste and the prepared seasoning mix, to the pot. Stir well until combined.
  • Carefully, add the white wine to the pot and stir, while gently scraping any bits off the bottom.
  • Cook for 1 minute, or until most of the wine cooks out.

Make the arroz con pollo

  • Add the rice, chicken broth, water, and the bay leaf to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Add the chicken back to the pot, along with any juices collected on the plate. Arrange the chicken in the pot so it’s not stacked.
  • Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir the rice frequently while waiting for the liquid to come to a boil.
  • Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • The rice should be visible on the surface. It should not sink to the bottom of the pot when stirred.
  • Give everything a good stir. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook the chicken and rice for 20 minutes.
  • Give everything a good stir after 10 minutes. Then stir again after the 20 minutes.
  • Taste a little bit of the rice. If it needs a salt, this is the time to add it. As a reference, I added just a little over ½ teaspoon of salt to our arroz con pollo. Stir well.

Time for the beer

  • Raise the heat to medium-low and slowly add the beer, while stirring. Cover and cook the chicken and rice for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Taste the rice, if it’s still not done, lower the heat to low, cover and let it steam another 15 minutes or until done.
  • Garnish the arroz con pollo with the sweet peas, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 1815mg | Potassium: 595mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 26.9% | Vitamin C: 23.9% | Calcium: 6.4% | Iron: 16.1%
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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