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!