Arroz con Pollo
Updated: Jul 16
Arroz con pollo or chicken with rice is the quintessential one pot meal. You cook the rice and chicken in pot and you have a delicious and easy meal. Growing up, my great-grandmother made a "mean" arroz con pollo, I would often ask her for this dish over and over again. Now, that I'm trying to recreate these delicious recipes, I have had to do a lot of work because my family cooks "by sight" and no recipes. However, no worries, we have figured out the perfect recipe for you!
1 ½ lbs medium grain rice
2 tbs vegetable oil
6 boneless chicken thighs (with skin)
5 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp adobo
⅓ cup + 3 tbs sofrito
1 packet of sazon
½ cup tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp salt
⅓ cup olives, drained
3 cups water
3 oz roasted red peppers
Start by preparing your chicken. Arroz con pollo can be made with literally any type of chicken. White meat, dark meat, bone-in, boneless, you name it. Here we are going to be using boneless chicken thighs that still have their skin on. Chicken thighs are less likely to dry out as you are cooking them and I like to leave the skin on, as it provides a lot of flavor and texture when you sear it properly.
Our recipe calls for 6 thighs. Cut two of these into small pieces, while leaving the other four whole. This way, you'll be able to mix some of the chicken into the rice, while also still having some big pieces to cook on top of the rice.
Now, let's go ahead and get the chicken marinating. In a large bowl, combine your chicken, sofrito, adobo, and garlic. Mix thoroughly, to ensure that your seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the chicken. Then go ahead and put your chicken back in the fridge, letting it marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
While your chicken is marinating, wash your rice. We showed you how to do this in our original Rice and Beans video, but we want to revisit it here to talk about some of the finer points.
If you’ve ever stuck your hand in a bag of rice, you might have noticed that the rice leaves a fine white powder on your hands. This powder is composed of free starches that have accumulated on the surface of the rice. And even though it’s the same starch the rice is made out of, this starchy powder is bad news. Why? Because when you mix it with hot water, it turns into a thick paste. If you’ve ever used cornstarch to thicken gravy, it’s exactly the same thing. And so, if you leave this starchy powder on the rice while you cook it, it forms a paste and you can end up with what Puerto Ricans call “arroz amogollao” -- or roughly translated into clumpy or mushy rice.
The key to washing your rice is to use your hand to scrape the grains of rice together, while rinsing them with cold water. As you rub the grains against each other, you are scraping off the loose starch, so the water can wash it away. Keep doing this until the water dripping off the rice is clear. Once that’s done, go ahead and shake the rice to remove excess water.
Next, transfer it to a clean bowl and combine it with a little bit of oil.
Now back to the chicken.
Once your chicken is marinated, we want to start by searing it.
Bring your pot up to medium heat and add a little bit of oil. Next, take your whole chicken thighs and place them skin down in your pot. Placing it skin side down is super important, as we want the fat in the skin to start rendering out, so you get a nice, crispy surface. Once your whole thighs are in, go ahead and add your chicken pieces on top.
Keep cooking your thighs on medium, checking from time to time to make sure they aren’t burning. Don’t rush this stage. We want to give them plenty of time to cook, so the fat fully renders out of the skin. This rendered fat will get incorporated into the rice, spreading that great chicken flavor throughout the dish.
Once your skin has browned, go ahead and flip your thighs and brown the other side.
Once browned remove the whole thighs and place them on a plate. We’ll add them back in once the rice has partially cooked.
Now lets get the rice started. Your pot should still have the chicken pieces, as well as a decent amount of chicken fat from the thighs. Turn the heat up to high and then add your sofrito and saute it for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the sofrito has reduced, add your tomato sauce, your olives, your sazon, and your salt.
Stir to combine and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Next, add your water and bring it to a boil on high.
Once your water is boiling, add your rice and start a timer for 6 and a half minutes. During this stage of the cooking, stir your rice from time to time, making sure to break up any clumps of rice that form. As your rice cooks, you’ll notice the water level starts to drop. Once the water level reaches the top of the rice, give it one last stir, then add your whole chicken thighs back on top of the rice, along with some red pimento peppers.
Put your lid on and keep cooking on high until the 6 and a half minutes are up. Then, turn your stove down to low and let the rice cook for 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes are finished, take your lid off and mix your rice. Start by moving your chicken thighs to a clean plate, then fluff the rice, doing your best to not break-up the rice grains p more than necessary. Once fluffed add your chicken back on top to serve.
If your rice is still 'al dente' at this point, just add a little water, replace the chicken thighs, and cook for another 5-10 minutes on low.
Once your rice is cooked, you are ready to eat.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.