My mother-in-law, who learned from my Puerto Rican father-in-law, taught me how to make this dish a few years ago. I’ve made a couple modifications since then, but it’s essentially the same. This is one of Chuck’s all-time favorite dishes and since it’s such a quick and easy weeknight dish, I end up making it at least a couple times per month.
The heart and soul of this dish is the sofrito which is this amazing green garlic/cilantro/pepper concoction. I would guess it’s in almost 99.99% of all Puerto Rican savory dishes. In fact if you ask my father-in-law (an amazing cook, btw) about any of his dishes, he will always start off by saying, “Well you start with sofrito and then blah, blah, blah…” My point being, there is always, always sofrito. Chuck makes our sofrito in big batches from scratch which we freeze and defrost as needed. It’s also available in the latin foods section in most grocery stores.
Traditionally, arroz con pollo is made with whole pieces of bone-in chicken. It’s a multi step process of searing the chicken, preparing the sauce for the rice, and then adding the chicken back into the pan before the rice is finished cooking. Instead of searing the chicken, I use raw boneless chicken thighs which I add to the sauce at the same time I add the rice. l also use chicken broth to offset any flavor lost from not using bone-in chicken.
If you end up trying this, I’d love to hear what you think!
- olive oil
- 1/3c sofrito
- 1/2c canned diced tomato with sauce
- 4tsp of homemade sazon or 1 packet of store bought sazon*
- salt & pepper
- 2c chicken broth
- 2c white long grain rice, rinsed
- 1.5-2c frozen mixed vegetables*
- 1 1/4-1 1/2lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into a little bit larger than bite size pieces***
- Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet***on medium heat
- Add in sofrito, diced tomatoes, and sazon
- Mix well
- Add rice and mix again
- Season chicken with salt & pepper
- Add chicken and broth
- Mix well
- Once most of the broth has been absorbed (approx 8-10min), add in frozen mixed vegetables and mix well
- Turn heat on low and bring rice to a slow simmer.
- Cover and cook until rice is tender (approx. 30min)
*Sazon is this fragrant mix of spices that add another incredible layer of flavor to this dish. We make our own mix, based on this recipe from skinnytaste® but you can also purchase in the latin section of your local grocery store.
**I have tried using chicken breast, but find it’s much too easy to overcook and requires a lot more watching. Thighs are much more forgiving. If you prefer chicken breast, cut into larger pieces and throw into the rice mixture just before most of the broth is absorbed (somewhere between steps 5/6) and keep your eyes on it!
***Although we do have a large skillet, I prefer using my wok. For years living in Manhattan, I only had a sauce pan, a grill pan, and a wok. Out of habit, my wok is still my go-to whenever I need a large pan…or maybe it’s just the Asian in me. 🙂 Use what you have or whatever you prefer.