Dinner with Bittman: Arroz Con Pollo

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Arroz Con Pollo

Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 1 hour

There are as many ways to make this as there are to make fried chicken, and they’re all pretty good. This version is stripped to its bare essentials: onion, chicken, and rice. You can add peas, red pepper, tomato, seasonings like bay leaves and allspice—well, see the variation for a more complex version. Stock makes the best cooking liquid, but the commonly used water works well, because as it simmers with the chicken they combine to produce a flavorful broth, which is in turn absorbed by the rice.

Saffron is not essential here, though it is welcome. More often than not, though, people make arroz con pollo with turmeric or annatto oil, which are more about color than flavor; the dish is customarily yellow. Take your pick.

3 cups chicken or other stock, or water

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice

Pinch saffron threads (optional)

1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces, or any combination of parts

Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Lemon or lime wedges for serving

1. Warm the stock while you cook the onions. Put the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and become translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the rice to the onions and stir until it’s coated with oil, a minute or two; sprinkle with the saffron if you like and stir again. Nestle the chicken pieces in the rice, add a little more salt and pepper, and pour in the warmed stock. Bring the mixture to a boil; adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.

3. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through; the bird is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155–165°F. (At this point, you may keep the dish warm over very low heat for another 15 minutes, and it will retain its heat for 15 minutes beyond that and still be good warm rather than hot.) Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon or lime wedges.


Posted in Mexican, Recipes


  1. TinaJGordon said...

    What ? No pimenton?????

  2. Carlos Rojas H. said...

    First arepas and now arroz con pollo? Have you being trading recipes with my mamá, Mr. Bittman? Nah… you would have added cebollín to this 😉

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