Weeknight Arroz Con Pollo

Legume-based rice (like chickpea rice) is a versatile, healthy, and delicious pantry item, which is why in our household, we have 1-2 meals accompanied with rice weekly!

However, with this recipe from my dear friend Pamela Saltzman’s new cookbook Quicker Than Quick, the rice becomes the main star.  With accessible and flavorful ingredients like capers and olives, this weeknight Arroz Con Pollo recipe is a perfect twist on an authentic Latin American dish that can be made in under an hour! 

Weeknight Arroz Con Pollo

Serves 6 

Ingredients:

1½ t garlic powder or granulated garlic 

1 ½ t dried oregano 

1 t paprika

2 t sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper 

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces (breasts and or thighs) patted dry and cut into 2-inch pieces (thighs can be cut in half) 

2 T unrefined, cold pressed, extra-virgin, olive or avocado oil 

1 bell pepper, color of your choice, seeded and chopped 

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

¾ cup crushed or diced tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomato, diced

1 ½ cups uncooked long-grain white rice 

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water

1 T capers, drained from bring 

½ cup frozen peas

Chopped fresh cilantro 

Directions:

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the garlic powder, oregano, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. (This can be done a day in advance if desired).

In a 10-inch straight-sided skillet, heat the oil.  Add the chicken pieces in one layer and brown on two sides, 2 to 3 minutes each side.  Do not cook through and do not brown too much. Transfer the chicken back to the bowl (it doesn’t matter that this had raw chicken in it since the chicken still has to be cooked again.)

Add the bell pepper and onion to the skillet and sauté until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and remaining teaspoon of salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add the tomatoes to the pan and increase the heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze and remove the bits stuck to the bottom. Add the rice, stock capers, and olives and bring the liquid to a boil. Arrange the chicken pieces on top. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Most of the liquid should have been absorbed. Stir in the peas and cilantro (if using) cover again, and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve immediately or allow the dish to sit off the heat, covered for 10 minutes.  

Photo courtesy of Isabela Eats