Arroz Con Pollo, or Latin American chicken with rice, is a time honored, soul soothing, body nourishing meal that everybody in the family loves. It’s a dinnertime hero.
I made arroz con pollo for dinner the other night and it was such a hit with the fam I knew I had to share it with you guys. Yes, there are a few more ingredients and a couple more steps than most of my easy dinners involve, but this one is a classic you have to try. And anyway, once everything’s in the pot, the oven does its magic and you can sit back with a glass of wine.
Arroz con pollo translates to rice with chicken, but it’s a whole lot more than that!
Arroz con pollo is a flavor packed one-pot meal and a popular comfort food from Spain to every corner of Latin America. Each region has their own interpretation of the dish, which is, in essence, a simpler version of paella. My version is pared down family dinner style, and definitely a gringa version, but retains much of the flair that makes this dish famous. It’s not a meal you’re gonna throw together in 30 minutes, for sure. But that little bit of extra effort pays off big time.
What you’ll need for arroz con pollo
- plump chicken legs
- you could also use thighs, but definitely stick with dark meat for its tender texture and richer flavor.
- olive oil
- green pepper
- jalapeño pepper (optional)
- fresh cilantro
- dried oregano
- bay leaves
- sweet paprika
- smoked paprika
- also known as achiote, a spice from the seeds of the annatto tree. It’s commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines to add a yellow-orange color and a slightly sweet and peppery flavor to dishes. You can substitute saffron.
- tomato paste
- long grain rice
- smoked ham
- chicken stock or broth
- salt and pepper
more chicken for dinner
- Cider Braised Chicken with Sage
- Chicken Margherita Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Chicken with Asparagus
- Lemony Chicken Soup with Orzo
- Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Apples and Brown Cabbage
- Grilled Chicken with Peach Jalapeño Salsa
Arroz con Pollo (chicken with rice)
- large Dutch oven or braising pan
- 8 chicken legs (about 2 – 21/2 pounds)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, rough chopped
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 green pepper, seeded and rough chopped
- 1 jalapeño, rough chopped
- large handful cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp anatto
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups long grain rice (uncooked)
- 1/2 cup smoked ham, cut in small cubes
- 3 cups hot chicken stock or broth
- 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 1/2 cup cooked peas
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Season the chicken well with salt on all sides.
- Heat the oil in a large pan until hot but not smoking. Brown the chicken, in batches, for 5-7 minutes, turning so all sides of the legs get browned. Set the legs aside on a plate. Note: when the pan is hot enough you'll hear a sizzle when the chicken hits the oil, if you don't hear that sizzle, let the pan heat up a little longer.
- Meanwhile make the sofrito in a food processor (you can also finely chop everything by hand if you prefer.) Put the onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro, salt, pepper, and oregano in the processor.
- Pulse until fairly finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the machine as necessary. You will end up with about 3 cups, give or take.
- Saute the sofrito in the same pan that you browned the chicken in for about 3 minutes. Than add the bay leaves, paprikas, anatto, and tomato paste. Stir well and saute for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the rice and stir well. I like to toast the rice for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
- Add the smoked ham and the hot stock, mixing well. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
- Nestle the chicken legs back into the pot, leaving the browned skin just above the sauce. Bring the whole pot back up to a bubble, then cover, and put the pot in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the oven and let rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff up the rice around the chicken with a fork. Garnish with olives, capers, and peas just before serving.