I grew up in the beautiful country of Panama. There are a handful of recipes that are synonymous with “home” for me. Arroz con pollo is one of those “at-home, comfort” dishes. Really, it is a humble casserole of chicken and rice. But when I dig into a bowl of arroz con pollo, I am transported back to Panama, beach trips, and a care-free tropical lifestyle. I can close my eyes and conjure up countless memories of sitting down to arroz con pollo with family and friends in so many settings across Panama. I’ve entered open-air restaurants in Panama and ordered arroz con pollo only to witness the really free-range chicken being chased down and made into my very fresh arroz con pollo. Talk about made-to-order and fresh!
So today when my daughter, Laura, asked me to make arroz con pollo for dinner, I agreed and set out to the grocery store to pick up a hand-cart of ingredients. For all my “Zonian” friends, I hope you enjoy my interpretation of the classic Arroz Con Pollo. And to all my non-Zonian friends, give it a try! You just might find that you will have a new family favorite comfort food in your home.
- 1 chicken, cut into pieces. OR 3 large chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Chicken broth or water, approximately 5 cups
- 1 to 3 chopped bell peppers
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 to 5 chopped tomatoes
- Adobo seasoning
- Saffron threads
- 2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 cup green olives
- 3 to 5 T capers
- ground pepper and salt to taste
- red pimentos, if desired, for garnish
Heat half of the vegetable oil in a Dutch Oven or heavy sauce-pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with Adobo All-Purpose Seasoning. Saute onions and garlic for a few minutes.
Increase heat. Add the chicken and sear the chicken pieces or breasts on all sides. Add chicken broth or water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook, covered, for approximately 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout.
Remove chicken to a separate plate until it is cool enough to shred. Remove skin and bones. Shred chicken and set aside.
Remove broth to a separate bowl or measuring cup(s). Add saffron threads to broth. Stir.
Heat the remaining oil in the Dutch Oven. Add carrots and peppers. Saute for approximately 3 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add broth with saffron. Increase heat and bring rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until broth is absorbed. (Add more hot water/broth if rice is still hard and all liquid is absorbed.) Taste. Add more Adobo if needed.
Add green peas, olives and capers. Stir. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes.
Garnish with red pimentos if desired.