Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Style Chicken and Rice) is a delicious meal perfect for any occasion. Starchy rice and tender chicken are simmered in a tomato sauce in this classic Cuban dish. It’s so good, you’ll want to make it over and over again!
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Growing up, my grandmother would make Arroz con Pollo for family dinners; typically for a birthday. I can vividly remember her placing the huge cazuela on the center of the table. As she would lift the lid, a massive plume of steam that would escape from the pot and the room would fill with the savory aroma. She would always save me the drum stick, knowing it was my favorite. To me, the whole experience was magic. I can now look back at those memories with fondness and say, with absolute certainty, that that was when my love for food and the connection it brings was born.
Tips for making Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Style Chicken and Rice) :
- My version of Arroz con Pollo uses shredded chicken (toddlers and chicken bones don’t mesh well). I cook the chicken in a pressure cooker beforehand, making it easy to shred. I also reserve the broth and use it as the liquid used to cook the rice.
- This recipe calls for chicken quarters, however you can use any cut of chicken you prefer. I highly recommend using skin on and bone in cuts. Using them will yield a richer, more flavorful broth.
- My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother all finish cooking the dish with a beer. I refuse to break with that specific tradition, however you’re more than welcome to opt out. If you do use the beer, make sure it is an amber lager. I personally like using Fat Tire or Yuengling.
- Much like Paella or Risotto, the rice that is used for Arroz con Pollo is key to the consistency of the final dish. I use California Pearl (Tipo Valenciano). It is a short, almost round grain and has a much higher starch content, resulting in a stickier rice. If you can’t find this specific rice, Calrose medium grain rice is a decent substitute.
- The ration for the rice is 1:2; one cup of rice to two cups of liquid. This does not include the addition of the beer at the end.
- Taste your broth BEFORE you add the rice. Your rice will absorb all of its flavor from the liquid it is cooking in. It should be on the saltier side to aid in seasoning the rice.
This dish is just so darn good. I know I say that a lot, but this one will, like Picadillo, never fail you. is one that never fails you. I hope you love it as much as me and my family do. Let me know what you think! Enjoy! 🙂
Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Style Chicken and Rice)
- 6-Quart Pressure Cooker
- 12-inch Skillet with a tight fitting lid
- 2 chicken quarters bone in, skin on
- 6 cups water
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- ½ green bell pepper diced
- 3 cloved garlic minced
- ½ cup tomato sauce canned
- ½ cup dry white cooking wine
- ½ packet sazon
- 1 tsp salt plus more if needed
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup peas frozen
- 2 cups California pearl rice
- ½ bottle amber lager beer room temperature
- Place the chicken and 6 cups of water in the pot of a 6-quart pressure cooker. Place the lid of the pressure cooker on the pot, locking it in place and adjusting the pressure valve according to manufactures instructions. Once pressurized, cook for 25 minutes.
- Once the 25 minutes has passed, allow the pressure cooker to depressurize. Gently remove the chicken from the pot and place in a bowl. Using two forks, shred the chicken, taking care to remove any skin, bones or cartilage. Reserve 4 cups of the cooking liquid and set to the side.
- Heat the olive oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic to the warmed pan. Saute until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Add the tomato sauce, dry white cooking wine, Sazon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and reserved liquid to the pan. Taste test the broth to ensure that is is seasoned well. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the shredded chicken, peas, and rice. Stir to combine. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes until the rice just cooked all the way through.
- Pour the beer over the rice and gently mix it into the rice. Move the pan off of the heat and place the lid on for another minute or two. Serve immediately. Enjoy!