Undoubtedly Spanish in origin, arroz con pollo, or rice with chicken, can be found in the various cuisines of Latin America and the Caribbean. I’ve found Cuban and Mexican versions, among others, and a recipe for the Puerto Rican version that includes olives and capers among the ingredients and which, according to the author, is not as spicy as the Mexican arroz con pollo.
There is no standard recipe for arroz con pollo; only the chicken and rice are essential to the dish. The rest of the ingredients, including the seasonings and spices, as well as the cooking method, vary from country to country, region to region and family to family.
My recipe for arroz con pollo is mildly spicy (which makes it more closely related to the Mexican version) but still kid-friendly. The chicken pieces are partially cooked by frying then are arranged on top of the rice where they finish cooking.
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.5 kg., chopped into 10 to 12 portions)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup vegetable cooking oil
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- a generous dash of white wine
- 2-1/2 cups rice (I recommend long-grain varieties)
- chilies as few or as much as you like, chopped
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used canned)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 cups chicken broth preferably homemade
- (salt and pepper, to taste, if using unseasoned broth)
- 1 large red bell pepper cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 large green bell pepper , cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/2 c . of corn kernels (I used canned; if using frozen, thaw before use)
Stir together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika together. Place the chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag and add the flour mixture. Shake to coat each chicken piece well.
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken, in batches if necessary, until golden brown. You’re not cooking the chicken through at this point but merely searing them. As each chicken piece browns, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
In a clean wide pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about a minute. Add the wine, keeping the heat high. When the wine has evaporated (should take no more than a couple of minutes), add the rice and the chopped chilies.
Stir the rice to coat each grain with oil.
Add the tomatoes and oregano.
Pour in the broth. Stir and bring to the boil. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on top of the rice. Cover the pan, set the heat to low and cook until almost dry, about 15 minutes.
Scatter the sliced bell peppers, and the corn, over the chicken. Cover the pan and continue cooking over low heat for another 10 minutes or until the rice and chicken are both done.
Serve in the pan.