It’s a staple for many, but it’s new to me as of this fall, and it has immediately become a chilly-weather favorite that has me excitedly hauling out the big heavy Dutch oven every Sunday afternoon. I am hooked.
Rich and savory with tomato flavor, juicy chicken, tender rice, lots of herbs and spices, plenty of lime juice, and (at least in my kitchen) a handful of jalapeño-stuffed green olives – it is a complete 180 from the mild and creamy chicken and rice that I grew up with, and it is wonderful in its ability be both comforting and also spicy and bright all in one complex bite.
I think I made it three times in three back-to-back weeks, so yes, it is forsurely on the recipes-that-need-to-be-made-more-than-once list.
We loved this recipe – the whole fam, including toddler (although I left the spicy olives out for her portion) – and I really don’t think there could be any happier mealtime moment than the one where you open the lid on this steaming pot of comfort food as you settle in around the table on a fall or winter evening.
Arroz con pollo is a traditional Latin American dish that translates to “rice with chicken.” There are variations in how it is made depending on where in the world you are eating it – Spain, Puerto Rico, or Latin America. I made this version based off the arroz con pollo recipe in the Saveur The New Classics cookbook which is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I made some changes to the ingredients and method to save some time and adjust it to my tastes, all of which are noted below! It’s worth noting that this version is missing the often-used annatto because I don’t keep it stocked in my pantry. For something more traditional, here’s a recipe for a lightened up version of the Colombian arroz con pollo that my friend Gina from Skinnytaste grew up with.
Common Questions About Arroz Con Pollo
Do I need to soak my rice?
The Saveur cookbook version I was inspired from has you soaking the rice for an hour before starting – but I always skipped this step and still loved the end results! The Saveur version also included annatto, corn, and capers. I skipped all of those in this version just due to personal preference.
Can I freeze leftovers?
I tried freezing this (after cooking) and thawed it overnight in the fridge. It was good, but a little dry. If you do this I would recommend adding some liquid to bring it all back to life again.
Is there a substitute for olives?
Sure! You could try capers instead of olives here.
Rich and savory Arroz Con Pollo with delicious tomato flavor, juicy chicken, tender rice, lots of herbs and spices, plenty of lime juice, and a handful of jalapeño-stuffed green olives. Bright and spicy and comforting!
2–3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoonskosher salt (divided)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1jalapeño or serrano pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoonstomato paste
2 teaspoonsground cumin
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 12-ounce bottle light beer
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cupschicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
1 12-ounce jar green olives(I LOVE jalapeño stuffed green olives for this!)
a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
a few squeezes of lime juice
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the chicken, season with 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping once, until cooked through. Remove from the pan. When cooled, roughly chop or shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Turn the heat down on the pan. Add the garlic, shallot, jalapeño, and pepper to the same pan. Sauté until soft and fragrant, scraping the browned bits off the bottom, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the tomato paste, spices, thyme, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; sauté for 2-3 minutes, until deep red.
Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Add beer; simmer and let it reduce for a few minutes. Add canned tomatoes, broth, and bay leaf; bring to a low simmer.
Stir in chicken and rice; bring to a low simmer. Cover with a lid and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Stir in olives, cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste and ENJOY your masterpiece!