Arroz con pollo means "rice with chicken." To many, the name connotes a particular recipe, and if you are one of those people with a traditional arroz con pollo recipe in your heart, this quick and easy version might come as a bit of a shock. But it is rice with chicken, with many of the traditional seasonings of a more involved arroz con pollo. I actually thought about naming it "Arroz con whatever pollo you have in the refrigerator", because that's how it got its start. I had an abundance of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and a hankering for rice, and one thing led to another. For zip, I added cayenne pepper, which I always use in my more traditional recipe, but you can omit it for a milder dish. Add a bit more tomato, or more cumin, to your own taste. If you're looking for a great make-ahead dish that you can freeze now, and reheat on a busy weeknight, this is it.
Quick and easy arroz con pollo (rice with chicken)
From the pantry, you'll need: cumin, cayenne pepper, sweet paprika, fresh black pepper, kosher salt, onion, garlic, canned chopped tomatoes, long-grain white rice, chicken stock, fresh flat-leaf parsley.
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, dried, trimmed of fat, and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks (approximately 4 cups)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (if using canned, drain through a sieve)
2-3/4 cups low-sodium store-bought chicken stock or homemade stock
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients. Add the chicken, and toss with your hands to make sure the spices are well distributed.
Heat the oil in a large high-sided skillet on medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is white on all sides and you can't see any pink. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl, leaving any oil in the pan, and set aside.
Add the onions and bell pepper. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and stir for 15 seconds, then stir in the rice. Keep stirring so the rice absorbs the oil in the pan, until it turns golden and just begins to brown (1-2 minutes at most).
Pour in the chopped tomato and the chicken stock. If the rice is not covered (it should be), add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat.
After the stock boils, reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 5 minutes.
Then, uncover the pan and add in the chicken (with any juices in the bowl), tucking the pieces into the rice below. Cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes.
After the mixture has cooked for a total of 15 minutes, uncover and stir in the fresh parsley. Cover the pan again, and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, if needed (if you have used homemade stock, the rice will definitely need salt).
At this point, test to make sure the rice and chicken are cooked. If not, continue cooking for 2-3 minutes more. Turn off the heat, and let the pan sit, covered, on the stove top for 10 minutes. The rice will absorb any remaining liquid.
More ways to bring chicken and rice together:
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya, from The Perfect Pantry
Chicken paella with slow roasted tomatoes, from The Perfect Pantry
My mom's circa-1960 chicken and rice casserole, from The Perfect Pantry
Creamy chicken and rice, from Natasha's Kitchen
Salsa verde chicken and rice, from Kevin & Amanda
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