Arroz con pollo is as classic Cuban as it gets. The aromas of arroz con pollo bring back memories of my abuela’s house and Sunday afternoons seasoned with fragrant saffron, sautéed sofrito, and sazon Goya. My mother typically makes fricase de pollo, a fancier Cuban chicken dish served with white rice that is a staple in our house, but I had a recent craving for the homey goodness of this hearty Cuban dish.
A delicious arroz con pollo starts with short grain Valencia rice that is soft and starchy, and nicely browned chicken. I never enjoyed the appearance of arroz con pollo as a kid so I make sure to brown my chicken on all sides to develop more complex flavors and give the skin a beautiful golden brown color.
Arroz con pollo is a perfect Cuban recipe for these cold New York winter days and reminds me of weekends in Miami surrounded by family. I’ve never ordered arroz con pollo at a restaurant for me this is a dish best cooked at home enjoyed with family and friends.
Arroz con Pollo Recipe
- 4 to 6 pieces chicken bone-in and skin-on (I prefer chicken thighs)
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive oil
- 1/2 red pepper diced
- 1/2 green pepper diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- Bay leaves
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 package sazon Goya con azafran
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 can light beer (Becks, Heineken, Presidente, Budweiser)
- 1 small can sweet peas (1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
- 1 can red pimientos sliced (one pimiento reserved for garnish)
- 2 cups valencia rice, washed
- 3 cups water or broth
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- lime garnish
Dice your sofrito of red and green pepper, onion, and garlic and set aside. Heat your pot with olive oil on medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on all sides and set aside on a plate. Add the green and red bell pepper and onion to the pot.
Once the onions become translucent and soft add the garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and add the tomato sauce and simmer. Season the sofrito with the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, and salon Goya con azafran. Add the chicken and top with jar of peas, sliced pimientos with liquid, bottle of beer, rice and water. Bring the arroz con pollo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes.
When your liquid is all absorbed the arroz con pollo is ready. Garnish with the reserved pimiento and peas and a wedge of lime.
*I made half of a recipe which is why I used only 3 chicken thighs for this dish.