Spain and Latin America are popular for dishes that are rich in juicy chicken pieces and spiced rice, like the popularly consumed paella. One other such rice-chicken dish that is an original from Puerto Rico is the arroz con pollo, which is close in taste to the paella. The preparation features pan-fried chicken pieces served on a bed of spiced paella rice. The final result is a wholesome and sumptuous meal fit for a relaxed date night or a solo night in. Follow the recipe below to put together an authentic arroz con pollo.
Feature Image: The Noshery
Arroz Con Pollo Recipe
For the Achiote Oil
Heat the oil and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat just until the seeds start to sizzle. Once they're sizzling, remove the pan from the heat and let stand until the sizzling stops. Strain and reserve in a jar with a tight-fitting lid at room temperature for up to 4 days.
For the Sofrito
Chop the onion and Cubanelle or Italian peppers in a food processer until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients 1 at a time and process until smooth. The sofrito will stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the Arrozo con pollo
In a paella pan or wide, shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the Achiote Oil over medium-high heat until the oil is rippling.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add as many pieces skin side down to the pan as fit without touching. Cook, turning as necessary, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the pieces as they are done and set aside.
Adjust the heat under the pan so the chicken browns without the oil darkening.
When all the chicken is removed from the pan, add the Sofrito and alcaparrado.
Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Raise the heat to high and boil until most of the water is evaporated from the Sofrito.
Add the cumin and cloves and stir in the rice until coated with oil.
Return the chicken to the pan, pour in enough broth to cover the rice by the width of 2 fingers (about 1”), and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until the level of liquid reaches the rice. Stir gently and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook until the liquid is absorbed, the chicken is cooked through, and the rice is tender but firm, about 20 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
The arroz con pollo can be brought to the table right in the pan or transferred to a large serving platter. Garnish with the red pepper before serving.