Recipe: Arroz con Pollo

Another non-Asian recipe! I haven’t posted one in a long time. Arroz con pollo (pronounced: “ah-rroth kohn poy-yoh” or “ah-rros kohn poy-yoh” and the rr is rolled, literally: “rice with chicken”) is a Spanish recipe popular in Spain and all of Latin America. It consists of rice (arroz) and chicken (pollo), and the seasoning varies depending on where it’s made. The history of this dish probably dates back to when the Muslim people migrated to Spain, bringing their rice and cooking methods.

Anyways, this recipe is mostly based on the Spanish version of arroz con pollo. The Spanish one uses Calasparra rice, a variety of very short-grain rice that absorbs a lot of water but remains seperate grains and does not stick like Japanese rice. The seasonings include Pimentón de la Vera, which is Spanish smoked sweet paprika, as well as saffron, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, and a sautéed mixture of onion, garlic, and tomatoes. It’s quite easy to make at home and it’s very tasty.

Arroz con Pollo is similar to Arroz en Paella a la Valenciana. However, there are some differences. Paella a la Valenciana uses snails and rabbits in addition to chicken. Also, it uses local varieties of beans. And Paella a la Valenciana should be cooked over a wood fire. Arroz con Pollo is easier to make at a regular home overseas.

The authentic way of making Arroz con Pollo in Spain is very shocking if you are used to cooking rice the Asian way. First, the rice isn’t washed! Second, the rice is cooked without a lid! Third, the rice is cooked al dente! In Asia, rice is always washed, cooked with a tight lid, and fully cooked without any hardness.

My recipe is not the authentic one from Spain though. I don’t use Calasparra rice since I can’t get it here easily (and if I can get it, it costs way too much). So I use other types of rice. Also, I substituted regular smoked paprika for the real pimentón de la Vera. Which probably sounds terrible to some Spanish people, sorry! If you can get the real pimentón, use it! Next, I cooked it with the lid on since it’s much easier for me. I decreased the water too because of this. Lastly, I used boneless chicken thighs because I don’t like the bone-in ones.

This recipe is adapted from La Tienda. For the more authentic recipe, click the link for La Tienda. They also sell all the authentic ingredients online (for extremely high prices).

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 head garlic, finely minced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 tomatoes, finely chopped or grated
ground black pepper
1 tsp pimentón de la Vera or smoked paprika, plus a little more to season the chicken
1 large pinch saffron threads
4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (500 ml) rice (not 180 ml rice cooker cups but real 240-250 ml measuring cups)
1/2 cup dry white wine
about 2 cups chicken broth or water + 2 tsp chicken bouillon powder/cubes/paste (amount depends on type of rice)
1/2 to 3/4 cup green peas (optional, probably not authentic)

1. Mix chicken with some salt, pepper, and pimentón.
2. Heat a pan and add 4 tbsp olive oil.
3. Add chicken and spread in one layer and brown.
4. Then brown the other side.
5. Take the chicken out to a plate. Try to leave as much oil as possible in the pan.
6. Add 2 tbsp more oil to the pan, but if you think it’s too much, you can skip this extra oil.
7. Add garlic and onion and bell pepper if using. Sauté 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
8. Add tomatoes and stir. Cook until reduced and the oil separates on the sides (it’s sort of hard to see this, basically when there is very little liquid left).
9. Add the rice and stir well for a couple minutes.
10. Pour in the wine, water or broth, chicken bouillon powder/cubes/paste if using water, pimentón, saffron, black pepper, and salt (use less salt if using chicken bouillon powder/cubes). Stir well until combined, bringing to a boil.
11. Add chicken evenly on top and sprinkle peas if using. Bury the chicken and peas into the rice.
12. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
13. Uncover and taste the rice. If it is still hard and not much liquid left in the pan, add more water or broth. Then cover and cook another 10 minutes.
14. Once it is fully cooked, serve! You can garnish with lemon wedges if you like. Take the pan to the table and serve yourself. Sprinkle lemon juice on top if you desire.
15. Enjoy!! 🙂

At the bottom of the pan is extremely delicious, burnt crispy rice called socarrat in Spanish! Try to scrape it off to enjoy! It’s amazing, especially if you love crispy food!



10 thoughts on “Recipe: Arroz con Pollo

  1. looks very good and easy. I would add boneless thighs just because I like dark meat and your presentation looks great.
    I have replaced lemon/lime in place of salt in many dishes. I think like salt, it brings out the favor in a dish. I guess I’m too americanized to ever think of eating the crispy bottom but Spaniards are not the only ones to do this.
    since Spanish is not your language, where or how to you get your pronunciation? (it’s spot on)
    Hope your a little better today.

    1. Yes, chicken thighs are so much better than the breasts, and for some odd reason they cost LESS in the USA (thighs cost more than breasts in Asia since people all like chicken thighs more than chicken breasts). Hehe. The chicken breasts are always too stringy after cooking!
      Thank you! 🙂 It took several minutes to make the lemons perfectly on top XD
      I love the crispy bottom. It’s loved in Spain (socarrat), Iran (tahdig), China (guoba), Korea (nurungi), and probably everywhere else in Asia. In Iran, rice cookers produce the crispy bottom! When I visited my Persian friend and ate the extremely delicious yellow saffron pulow (SO GOOD) from the rice cooker, I loved the crispy tahdig. I was wondering, how does the rice cooker produce that? The East Asian ones can’t! Later I learned that rice cookers from Iran are programmed to do that. Koreans should design one too! Maangchi always likes cooking rice in a pot for the nurungi, even though she owns a rice cooker, hehe.
      Gracias! I studied Spanish pronunciation, and I can sort of pronounce any Spanish word now. I only have a few problems with pronunciation like I do with any foreign language. One is keeping stressed syllables the same length as unstressed, unlike Italian. I LOVE how the pronunciation is almost always regular, unlike English.
      I’m studying using SpanishPod101’s survival phrases now. Yay! Spanish is a lot harder for me than Asian languages and Esperanto. Mostly because of the verb conjugations depending on 1st, 2nd, 3rd persons.
      I’m feeling much better! I still have a cough though. I’ve been sick for 2 weeks already, ugh! Luckily I’m getting a little better. Hopefully I will be totally better by the time I leave for Peru in a few days. It will feel terrible to have a cough on the plane.
      Peru food looks mostly good! I want to try ceviche (but I’m afraid of food poisoning since it’s all raw!). I probably do not want to eat any alpaca or cuy (guinea pig), especially the guinea pigs, when fried whole they look a little disturbing. I’m excited for Macchu Picchu, and also Lake Titicaca. The pictures look very beautiful. After Peru I think I will not be traveling anywhere for a while. When I do go somewhere it will probably be Europe.
      Have a good day 😀

    2. LOL, I took the placement test for English from Chinese and got 2760 points today (my daily goal is 20). Sadly I got 1 question wrong. So I didn’t get a gold tree (cries). I should jave quit and restarted to get all questions right since I wanted the owl trophy 😦
      XD I’m at 33% fluency only! Yikes, my “English” is so bad! I should go through the whole tree from the beginning so I can get more Chinese practice, although the sentences to translate are REALLY weirdly phrased. Because Chinese has no word for “the”, so every time it is used, I have to translate as “this” or “these” which is quite redundant and weird. Also in Chinese, sentences are really flexible and we don’t have complex English grammar so the translations for the complex English grammar are super strange.

      1. WHOOO retakes a test just to get an Owl trophy. I don’t know you but I highly doubt your English grammar is bad.
        Only one question wrong!?!?!
        but even I know that translations from most ANY language is kinda weird at times.

      2. I retook it and got 100% but I still didn’t get the trophy, XD
        The reason why I did wrong is because my English to Chinese translation abilities are very bad. XD
        The test only takes 5 minutes! I thought 100% gives you an owl trophy, but it doesn’t 😦

      1. I am using It in Inglés because English is my first language. what Spanish I do know I learned from other family members. (more commonly known as Spanglish).

    1. I published my recipe for Sopa Criolla! Have you heard of this soup? It’s very delicious. If you like soup and noodles, you will like this soup! I still haven’t finished my big Peru blog post but I will soon. The WordPress app is really glitchy so I’m writing it in the Notes app instead, so I have to transfer the words, but I must upload the pictures to WordPress. Look forward to it! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s