Saturday, September 25, 2010

Random Willynillyness Cooking Presents: Arroz con Pollo

It's Sabroso Saturday and I am sharing a meal that is one of my favorites and that I made the other day. With the weather changing, I actually change my cooking style. I stop grilling meats and eating salads and I start making comfort food.

So the other day I decided to make some Arroz con Pollo (Chicken & Rice) for Tom. Tom is a gringo through and through. But there are certain Tico dishes that I cook that he really loves and Arroz con Pollo is one of them. It is also one of my favorites. It is actually quite easy to make and the secret is in the sauce.

Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo is actually quite different from what I make. My abuelita used to make delicious Arroz con Pollo. It was filled with carrots and peas and the rice was actually fluffy and dry. I love it that way and when I go to Costa Rica, I order Arroz con Pollo all the time. But when I lived in Miami, I had Nicaraguan and Cuban Arroz con Pollo and it was quite different.

It was soupy and sticky and I really liked it. I liked it better than the Costa Rican type because it was just rice and chicken in a soupy broth. So when I started making my new willy nilly Arroz con Pollo, I took a little of both recipes and put them together to come out with what I make now.

I always start with onions and cilantro. I saute the cilantro and onions in some olive oil. Then I add some achiote. Achiote is annatto seed made into a paste. I get mine from Costa Rica. I am sure I can find it here in the States but I never had to. Achiote is what is used to make white rice yellow, at least in Costa Rica. I know other cultures use other things to make the rice yellow but all I know is achiote.

So I saute the onions, cilantro and the achiote with the oil. I then add the chicken and brown it in the mixture. I use bone in chicken thighs because we love dark meat. If you use chicken with a bone it also gives the broth more flavor. After the chicken is browned, I add salt, pepper, ground cumin and ground coriander. I add chicken broth and, of course, my ever trusty Salsa Lizano. Salsa Lizano is the Worcestershire sauce of Costa Rica and we Ticos use it in everything!

I let this boil for a few hours to get as much flavor from the chicken as I can. Then I taste the broth and add spices and Salsa Lizano as needed. I also add some fresh cilantro for good measure. Then add some rice. I never have any idea how much rice I add but I would guess a cup and a half to the chicken and broth mixture. You want to have less rice than the amount of liquid you have in the pot because remember you want it soupy.

After I add the rice, I let it boil and then I turn the burner down and let this simmer for about 20 minutes. I then add some green stuffed olives and the olive juice. Trust me, this gives it a really nice taste. Then I let it simmer until the rice is cooked through and the mixture is soupy. That's it.
While not my mother's or grandmother's Arroz con Pollo, my version is pretty darn tasty. It is also the perfect meal on a cold day!

Buen Provecho!


  1. Aha - Salsa Lizano looks like a powerful secret ingredient. I'll have to start searching for it.

  2. MMmmm... Arroz con pollo. Mis favorito!!! I am drooling now, thanks!

  3. As I was growing up, arroz con pollo was a weekly meal. I never realized Latino cultures arroz con pollo varied until I got older. I have to admit my favorite is the Dominican kind. Its not soupy or dry and very fluffy.

    Btw, it sounds like your Salsa Lizano is the equivalent to the homemade Puerto Rican sofrito. We put it in EVERYTHING!

  4. Arroz con pollo is my absolute favorite. That's practically all I ate in Guatemala. Mmmmmmm, good!

    Buen Provecho

  5. Que rico! No chancletazo needed to win with this recipe.

  6. Wow...reading this post made my stomach grumble with hunger! Love arroz con pollo and this recipe.

  7. That looks good! I think even my super-picky daughter would like that... :)