Sunday, December 6, 2009

This Arroz Con Pollo Recipe (Chicken and Rice) Could Save Your Life

I wake up in a strange kitchen with no windows. I have no idea how I got there. All the doors are locked. I am alone. There is a note on a nearby table.

"You're to cook dinner for six people tonight, using anything in this fully stocked kitchen. You will not be told who'll be eating your food, or even what country you are in.

When it's ready, ring the bell on the table, and then lock yourself in the room at the back of the kitchen. There's a selection of old People Magazines for you to read while you wait.

If they enjoy your offering, you will wake up back in your San Francisco kitchen with no memory of this evening. If they do not like what you've made, you'll be terminated."

Well, that's just great – and I never even got to see the first season of Mad Men. Okay, so the preceding science fiction scenario is a little far-fetched, but if that were my predicament, what would I prepare? That's a no-brainer –Arroz Con Pollo, also known as Chicken and Rice.
Everybody likes chicken and rice. Just about every major culture has some sort of version of this archetypal recipe (by the way, people from minor cultures please save your emails). This is pure down-to-the-bone comfort food that I'm sure my mysterious captors would love. In fact, I'd bet my life on it. Enjoy!

Tech Note: This video recipe was filmed a while ago on my regular, non-awesome HD equipment. I used to think this stuff looked pretty good, but now, not so much.




Note: To see how I cut up a chicken into serving size pieces, watch this Buttermilk Fried Chicken video recipe!

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut in serving pieces
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/3 cup sliced green olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp fine table salt)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups white long grain rice
4 cups chicken broth

106 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are the sliced green olives necessary? Cause I'm not a big fan.

poophead said...

sounds like a situation out of top chef

rosemary said...

Not sure what u mean by minor cultures? Here in Zimbabwe chicken and rice is the christmas, parties, occasions, etc dish. I don't know if we inherited it from the Portuguese or British. The former being the first explorers to come here and introduce maize meal and collard greens staple; and the later being our former colonizers responsible for introducing us to English food. We cook the rice on its own. The basic, most common ingredients for the chicken: chicken, onion, oil, tomatoes, salt and water. Depending on exposure some people add other stuff like garlic, peppers, herbs and spices. The most common spice being curry powder.

I am definitely going to give your version a try. I have never done a one pot chicken and rice dish. Verdict next Monday.

alex s. said...

What about the cutting up the chicken video? great recipe btw.. will try soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi John!

SaberJ2X, long time reader... from the learn2cook days? lol

aw'right! just like my GRANDMA used to make :D except no over or sugar part...

but as you said it's your version

and a pretty well done one :D Sir you get my Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo seal of approval

Anonymous said...

PS.

you could have also exchanged some of that broth for white wine, then it's called "Arroz con Vino" from spain too, which is basically a drunken arroz con pollo.

cheers john!
good to see your going places with this blog :D

Dan said...

Chef John, you so rock. "Crappier pan" ha!

Chef John said...

if you don't like green olives, leave them out, or put them in and see how great they are in this

PukaDog said...

Chef John,

Just so I can FedEx my request to Santa to make sure he gets my wish list, could you please share what brand the large, non-crappy, heavy duty stainless steel skillet you used in this video?

Chef John said...

the pan was a gift and from France, and I can't even read the brand on it. But if you go to my Amazon store you can see the all clad brand SS pans which are quite nice. http://astore.amazon.com/lrn2cook-20

Sheliza said...

okay, I am loving this and I am so making this!! Thanks so much! I am going to share this on Facebook :)

Chris K. said...

What?! No adobo seasoning?!

Just kidding. Looks great, and reminded me it's been a while since I made chicken rice. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I made this for my wife and in laws tonight and it went down extremely well. Thanks a lot chef John.

and you were right about the olives :)

Asian Malaysian said...

Thanks for giving me an idea for a paella without the pan.

Dad.. said...

Mmmm... I love making this dish. Great comfort food!!

Lucia said...

My mom does this, and I adore it.

I try but I reckon I don't have the right kind of pan so I get undercooked and undercooked bits.

pharaphalyn said...

Hey John, I made this dish last night and it was great! Easy, tasty, pretty healthy...lots of leftovers for lunch the next day too. Thanks for the recipe!

Eric said...

I made this last night for our family and I can't get over how delicious it was. John you are a genius! My wife kept saying, "every bite is so full of flavor". This is a home run John... Thank you for all you do. Your vids are always a blast!

Eric

Charlemange said...

I made this tonight. It was good. My husband loved it. Next time I will make a few changes though. First, I would use chicken thighs because the white meat was a bit dry. Also the capers imo did nothing for this dish.

I really liked they way the olives tasted in this.

asdf said...

how many does this serve?

Anonymous said...

I tried this and I had only one problem. When browning the chicken the chicken fat keep getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. This happened until there was no more fat left on the chicken. I used plenty of Vegtable oil and didn't let it sit in the pan for long without me moving the chicken. It seemed as if as soon as I put the chicken in the pan it would stick regardless of the veggie oil. The heat I was using was high, just as you instructed in the video. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.. help!? :-) Everything else turned out fantastic.

Eric said...

I used a family pack of chicken thighs, about 8 if I recall. It was a good portion for 4 people with lots of rice and veggies for everyone.

My family is begging for this again.
I used California brown long grain rice which takes over an hour to cook. You should consider how long the rice you plan to use takes to get tender. There is a pretty wide range of times. If you plan to use one that takes longer than 30 minutes, I would suggest soaking it in cold water for 30 minutes or longer before draining and using it here. Just a little fine tuning to make sure everything is done at the same time. My rice was a little under cooked.

Chef John said...

Portions vary from 4 to 8 depends how hungry you are.

Chef John said...

You moved it too soon, let it brown and it will release from the pan. Although some pans just stick more than others.

Julia said...

I made this today, and it's so good!! Satisfying and full of flavor. I used only thighs.

Christina said...

OMG!!! I subscribe to your podcast on my iPod and learn new recipes on the way to work. I can't WAIT to try this one....and the buttermilk fried chicken one.......and your wife's chocolate cookies one.....and the one potato gnocchi one, and the eggplant parm one.....

Wow, I'm suddenly really hungry.

Anonymous said...

John, I'm making this recipe Wednesday for 7.5 people---My 90 year old Mom is the .5---Should I double recipe? Other than a cuban salad, which I plan to make, any other side dish you think would work? - Love your recipes---your chicken parm is THE BEST!
Thanks for sharing -

Chef John said...

Yes, i would, better safe than hungry

Ken said...

John,

This recipe looks marvelous and very similar to something we borrowed from our Puerto Rican cousins here in the Virgin Islands. I don't have a dutch oven, can I do this on the stove top and if so, how long do I simmer for?

Thanks,

Chef John said...

you can, but im not sure of the time, maybe 35 min?

Anonymous said...

hey chef john, if i dont have the dutch pan, what should i use to put in the oven? is it pyrex okay?

Chef John said...

anything large, ovenproof and with a tight lid will work. good luck!

Christina said...

OMGOSH! Super fantastic. The chicken was just a touch to dry for my taste, but we made this recipe for just 2 people, with the intention of savoring the leftovers later :D

tethys said...

Hi Chef John!
Im excited to try this one next. Would it be tragic if I used some boneless breasts? Should I still add a few bone-in pieces for flavor?

Also, I have a Calphalon stock pot (like this: http://www.cookingfor.us/catalog/images/Calphalon%20Hard%20Anodized%2012-Quart%20Stockpot.jpg)
Is that ok? The lid isnt "tight" but maybe if I weigh it down?

Thanks for all you do!

Chef John said...

you can use breasts, just not as moist. That pot will work, but wider pans are easier. Give it a try.

tethys said...

You're right. A wider pan should have been used. And yes the breasts were dry. The liquid stayed at the top and all the rice settled to the bottom so the rice in the middle/top was fine but awfully dry at the bottom. Oh well, worth a try.

What WAS cooked well sure tasted great though!
Thanks for the input!

Razors Edge said...

Woah, this looks good.

Dan and Hilary said...

On a mission to cook this tonight! 3rd thing I have made of yours, the list of things to make gets longer...

I haven't found any links to online classes on your blog, am I missing something?

Give my regards to NY.
-Dan, American ex-pat & fellow Western New Yorker in Dublin.

Chef D said...

Wow for the wake up and amazing dish, CJ your top notch as usual.

Anonymous said...

would basmati rice work with this recipe?
(not trying to be exotic)

Kathy said...

Hi Chef John,
I made this recently and it was deeeelicious. Didn't have olives and I used thighs and legs as opposed to a whole chicken.
Also my dutch oven is too big for my convection microwave so I cooked it on the stove top. It took 30-35mins and the rice was perfect. It did however burn on the bottom, and I used the lowest heat I could.
I assume this doesn't happen if baked in an oven, right?

Chef John said...

no burning in the oven :-)

J Karpenko said...

Chef John, just wanna double check, is it really 2 red bell peppers or is that a dupe?

Chef John said...

oops, no, just 1 red pepper

J Karpenko said...

Ty Chef John. My husband wants me to let you know what a GREAT Samaritan you are, saving every average American (and beyond!) home by providing excellent recipes FOC! Cooked this tonight and he can't sing you enough praises!

Isaac Kim said...

Made this today, and it turned out excellent. My only complaint would be that the breast pieces were overcooked. I was thinking next time, i would add them later. Maybe at the 15 minute mark in the oven? What would be your guess?

Also, broke down a whole chicken for the first time using your video. Awesome work Chef!

Chef John said...

That sounds about right. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We made this dish for my uncle's family. They just loved it, and thought it came close to indian chicken byriani. It's a very easy recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Sugar Fly said...

Chef, if I add uncooked shrimp will it cook ok in the oven? clams? (must have paella!) Thank you for sharing!

Boris said...

when you write one cup how many milileters are we talking about? 250?

Anonymous said...

HI chef! I use jasmine long grain rice for the recipe and baked it exactly for 35 mins but my rice was not fluffy but it was mushy, any suggestions chef? Thx,BTW this recipe was wonderful chef everyone in my house was saying that the chicken was super flavour full but,do you really have to use 1/4cup of tomato paste? it seemed alot.

Chef John said...

the rice should be soft, but not mushy, some varieties like basmati and jasmine do cook faster I think. You can use as much tomato paste as you want! That's what i used. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I made this dish and it was VERY tasty. But, my rice was over cooked. I cooked this dish on top of the stove instead of in the oven, and that could be part of the reason for the over cooked rice. Not sure. I am considering cooking the dish separately from the rice. Any thoughts?

Chef John said...

Yes, that is the reason! needs to be in the oven I think.

Anonymous said...

can u used jasmin rice or basmati rice instead of long grain whit rice?

I love you site!

Chef John said...

Sure, but might be done a little faster.

juliabritendark said...

I recently discovered this site and have already made several dishes, but this one is my favorite so far...I cut out the capers and olives as my picky children would object but the systematic method the chef used as opposed to just dumping everything in at the same time is easy to follow and produces a foolproof dish every time..I think a good heavy dutch oven is also key...I have a big family to cook for every night and this has become my new go to dinner...thanks Chef John...:-)

Razors Edge said...

Hmmm, I dont have a decent stainless steel pan or anything that holds the heat... its really quite pathetic.

How about just browning the chicken in the dutch oven ?

Anonymous said...

Grrr... this is the second time I've made this and the rice didn't cook through. I kept it in there for another 20 minutes and its still crunchy :(

I'm using a 3.5 litre kitchen aid dutch oven. Maybe I should turn the heat up to 400 ?

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Just want to ask if I need to wash the rice beforehand or straight from the packaging.....
thanks....

Chef John said...

i don't wash mine. enjoy!

otso said...

Very good recipe! I didn't have tomato pure so I used some cherry tomatoes instead and as I had no olives I put slightly more caprices. Also as pescaterian I don't eat chicken so I used chicken style Quorn pieces instead of the real thig - still the recipe worked and the result was so good that even my son, who normally avoids my cookings, ate some of it!

Cheers Chef John, once again for a spot on excellent dish!

-otso

conishkee said...

Chef John, you've got the ingredients down for the most part, but, with my being Puerto Rican and having cooked Arroz con Pollo many times over the years, the one "key" ingredient missing here is the cilantro (or, as we say back home in New York or PR, recow!). You make the sofrito out of the onions, green bell peppers, garlic and cilantro by pureeing them in a blender and then cooking it down in oil before adding all the other stuff. Yours looks good and I'm sure it tasted great too!

James said...

I've made this twice in the past week and I can not get over how tasty the rice is.

Thank you Chef John !

Jennifer said...

Hi Chef,

This looks awesome! Can I make this on a the stove if I don't have a dutch oven or oven proof pot?

Thanks!

Jennifer said...

P.S. Can I do it in my rice cooker?

Chef John said...

Yes you can! Not sure about rice cooker. Dont own one.

Gamefreakgeekmomma said...

Could you substitute turkey for chicken?

Gamefreakgeekmomma said...

Could you substitute chicken for turkey?

Chef John said...

Sure!

Anonymous said...

Amazing recipe, as usual.... what size dutch oven did you use for this recipe? Also, how would I add saffron to this if I wanted to?

Thanks!

-Maddy

Chef John said...

Yes, saffron would be fine! I think it's a 8 quart size.

Anonymous said...

What's a dutch oven? I don't have one of those, does it have some type of special magical function that makes it necessary or can I use the glass bake-ware that I already have?

joseph said...

dutch ovens retain heat well and re-circulate steaming liquid within the closed system.

basically your food wont dry out since the steam created from the cooking process will be trapped by the lid. also, the lid is shaped in such a way that the liquids fall back into the mixture, allowing for moisture recycling.

there are some great looking colorful enameled dutch ovens by le creuset, or the more economical fontignac

Riem said...

Hi Chef John,

thank you for your awesome video instructions and delicious recipes!

If I want to double the recipe, would I have to double the cooking time in the oven also?

Thanks,

Maddy

Chef John said...

No, it doesn't work that way. Would take longer, but I can't give you an exact time. You'd have to experiment and check.

KPeff said...

So good. I cooked it all in my dutch oven, added chopped carrots, a clove, a couple teaspoons of turmeric, and a bay leaf. I served it all with some sliced avocado (They were a buck a piece at the store, today). Great dish to cook when it gets cold.

LyndaT said...

Oh my. This dish is so delicious! I fixed it for Christmas Eve dinner and everyone loved. (We're kind of non-traditional when it comes to holiday meals.) I added some chopped stems (learned that from a Thai chef years ago), and frozen baby peas and chopped cilantro leaf at the end of cooking. I agree: even if you don't care for green olives, try them in this dish--it's a small amount for a big payoff. This dish is rich and homey, like a really good soup without stock. (Mine came out a little bit gooey. Next time I will use a little less liquid...I think, probably using just some of the four called-four cups of chix broth instead of additional liquid to deglaze the pan.) Thanks, Chef John, for (no surprise!) another keeper. Happy Christmas to you and your family!

LyndaT said...

(Oops. Left out a few words. Please feel free to edit. What I meant to say was:)

h my. This dish is so delicious! I fixed it for Christmas Eve dinner and everyone loved it. (We're kind of non-traditional when it comes to holiday meals.) I added some chopped cilantro stems (learned that from a Thai chef years ago), and frozen baby peas and chopped cilantro leaf at the end of cooking. I agree: even if you don't care for green olives, try them in this dish--it's a small amount for a big payoff. This dish is rich and homey, like a really good soup without stock. (Mine came out a little bit gooey. Next time I will use a little less liquid...I think, probably using just some of the four called-for cups of chix broth instead of additional liquid to deglaze the pan.) Thanks, Chef John, for (no surprise!) another keeper. Happy Christmas to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Chef John!!! I tried this from scratch, more or less followed everything as you said, with small amounts of chicken and veg (using whatever was in the fridge). Brillilant result. Love your blog :) Cheers!

1Bigg_ER said...

JUST BRILLIANT!!
BTW, I blame Chef John and his blog for my recent cookware splurge. Threw away all my old non stick cookware. Went for Tri Ply SS pieces

Anonymous said...

Want to give this a go, but need to buy dutch oven.
Chef John, how big is your dutch oven ?

Anonymous said...

I've made this twice and for some reason keep missing the word "simmer" before putting in the oven. Tip: don't forget to simmer first.

crunchiee said...
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crunchiee said...
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esta said...

Hello,

I'm planning to make this dish this weekend for a get together.
Only thing is i don't have a dutch oven. It seems a lot of the complaints with making it over the stove is that the bottom is burning. Should I stir the bottom every now and then when I'm cooking over the stove?

Chef John said...

If you stir the rice gets sticky. Really needs to bake.

Nepenthe said...

I don't want to fry my chicken. Can I bake first, then put it all together?

Nepenthe said...

Chef John, I baked the chicken halfway, then proceeded with your recipe. My house smells heavenly!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,

Do you recall what size this chicken was? Just wondering if I need to go out and search especially large chicken (supermarkets don't seem to carry anything larger than 3lbs...)! The dish looks fabulous!

1Bigg_ER said...

Here is what pisses me off about this dish. I had a goal in mind, to make as many dishes from here as possible. BUT, I KEEP COMING BACK TO THIS PARTICULAR ONE EVERY DAMN WEEK!! SOMETIMES TWICE A WEEK!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John
I have been making this a few times a month for a year now. I started with the original recipe and tweaked it to my taste. I love the fact that we can vary it depending on what we have in the cupboard. Thank you so much! I though I would share my variations.

We use Basmati rice, skinless drumsticks and thighs, thyme instead of oregano, less paprika (ours is too hot), corriander powder, carrots, celery or whatever veggies we have and a tin of black eyed beans (chickpeas or black beans work well too). I use chopped tinned tomatoes or passata instead of tomato paste. I occasionally throw in a bit of saffron or par boiled potatoes. Sometimes I put halveded hard boiled eggs on top after taking it our of the oven

I love the fact that this idea is literally global. Altering it in various ways has made Venezuelan, Indian and Nigerian friends all comment on how much it reminds them of home.

I've even made it without chicken with 2 kinds of beans as an amazing veggie pot luck dinner recipe

My advice to folk is to be careful when you are scaling up or adding to the recipe. Too much chicken/veggies/beans tends to mean that the rice does not cook as evenly. I think that the original recipe using a whole chicken is delicious, but I'm too lazy.

All in all its perfect served with a green salad and a glass of white wine. My four year old daughter would disagree and advises ketchup and apple juice! My better half states belgian beer and lime pickle.

Again a fab recipe and a firm favourite. Thanks again for posting

peace
out

Chef John said...

Thanks!! That sounds great! :)

Anonymous said...

This by far has to be my favorite Chicken/Rice combo ever. Had the same over/under cooked rice dilema so last time I sauteed my rice in a little oil before sauteeing the vegetables. Brown rice holds up a little better too. And guess what? You can use a cut-up deli roasted chicken. Just put rice, veggies & liquids in oven for about 25 min.Then position the chicken pieces into the rice adding a little more broth if it looks like the rice and veggies are drying too quickly. By adding lots more liquid you can make a wonderful soup. I add 1/4 cup red lentils and the combination is fabulous! Thank you, Chef John from a Long Time (lurking) Fan who adores your cooking and your style!

1Bigg_ER said...

Master this dish and your life will change forever. Add different veggies (Asparagus), mushrooms, use poblano peppers instead of green bell peppers. If you don't have smoked paprika use regular paprika + chipotle powder.
Whatever route you take DO NOT skip the olives and capers.
Thanks again Chef John!!

Peter B. said...

Made this tonight. Everyone loved it. Thanks! :)

Jess M said...

In about a week I'm going to have a crack at this in a pressure cooker. Wish me luck!

Olesya said...

This looks very delicious! Do you think it would work in a slow cooker after the initial steps and instead of the oven?

Olesya said...

Wow this looks so delicious!, do you think I would be able to use the slow cooker instead of the oven step? I too do not own a Dutch oven pot.

Chef John said...

Never tried, but I'm sure you could!

conishkee said...

I realize that folks do things different and I respect that, but just for the record for those wondering if they should wash their rice beforehand, I ALWAYS do, so that it releases some of the starch. It makes my rice very light and fluffy when done.

Anthony Quilici said...

Why the 4 cups of stock. Thought it was the 2:3 ratio? Is it bc the chicken absorbs alot of the liquid?

Hasniza Manaf said...

i have never had so many ppl being in love with me becoz of this dish...

Choi Christina said...

Just tried this last night as an experiment because I signed up to cook it for a colleague who just had a baby. It turned out great, just like all the other recipes that you've recommended. I've been wanting to thank you for a long time, so THANK YOU!

Steve Miller said...

Chef John, Thanks as usual for another great, easy recipe.

I am lazy; I will want to brown the meat in my french oven first then remove after the deglaze.

Then I will prep the vegi and rice part and add everything back.

Do you see anything wrong with that concept?

Steve

Chef John said...

Sounds good to me!