Steve’s Arroz con Pollo
The Ultimate Cuban Comfort Food
For many Cubans, arroz con pollo – Chicken with Yellow Rice – is the classic Sunday dinner. Some Cuban restaurants regularly feature arroz con pollo on their Sunday menu. For me, it’s the ultimate Cuban comfort food.
This recipe is relatively simple. You can cut the recipe in half if you want. But I recommend making the whole thing – the leftovers are awesome!
- 10 cups of water
- 4 pounds of skinless chicken with bone. I prefer dark meat.
- 4 cups of Valencia short grain rice (two 14 oz. packages.)
- A large onion
- One green bell pepper
- A red bell pepper
- One large carrot
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon yellow coloring (optional)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 fresh culantro leaves (May substitute cilantro or omit.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (optional; can substitute thyme or cilantro)
How to Prepare
In a heavy stockpot, heat water on high. Add chicken. Grate vegetables (or chop) and add to pot. Next, add the garlic, salt and ground spices. When water is at full boil, reduce to medium heat and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through at that point.
After 30 minutes, remove chicken and place on a plate to cool. Return pot to high and boil liquid to continue reducing.
In about 15-20 minutes, chicken should be cool enough to remove from bones with a fork. Tear chicken into irregular pieces and set aside in a large bowl.
Pour reduced liquid from pot into the bowl with chicken. Return empty pot to high heat and add olive oil and rice. Stir rice in the oil for about 2 minutes.
Add 6 cups of liquid back to the pot and stir. If you don’t have enough liquid, make up the difference with water or beer. After it reaches a boil, add chicken and culantro leaves and reduce to low temperature. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Fluff in fresh herbs and serve. The classic side dish is fried sweet plantains. French fries or fried green plantains go well too.