Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo

coverOne of my favorite things to order in restaurants here in Costa Rica, is Arroz con Pollo (in English means “rice with chicken”). So, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve been dreaming of making this from scratch for some time now. When we go out to eat here, we will order Costa Rican food, but when we are home I tend to make our USA favorites (which you know if you’ve read my Costa Rica Chica Cookbook; if not, please check it out – it’s my favorite US recipes, but also how to make them here in Costa Rica with some differences in ingredients). I think this Arroz con Pollo might actually be my first authentic Costa Rican dish I’ve made at home! 

So, with the help of Google and mi amigo Dennis Salazar (who patiently told me how to make this in detail, over lunch one day), I was finally able to come up with a recipe that worked for me and was still authentic to Costa Rica. This is the specific type of rice Dennis recommended, along with the Achiote that I chose to use:

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After cooking for half a day and doing dishes like 5 different times (my current dishwasher – Greg – is MIA), I am proud to announce… my version of Arroz con Pollo (and don’t let the “half day” thing scare you, you can totally do this in different stages ahead of time)!

I used my multi-use 6-Quart Lodge Dutch Oven (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, by the way!):

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And this is how it turned out!  You’re supposed to serve it with a salad, French fries or tortilla chips, but frankly I was just too tired to make any of those things from scratch just to get a pretty picture, so this is how I ate it, au naturel:

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It can also be served this way in restaurants (look how beautiful this turned out, my first attempt! Also, I just remembered I had fresh cilantro in my garden):

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Here’s my video for a quick review:

Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo
A typical Costa Rican dish made with shredded chicken, rice and vegetables.
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FOR THE CHICKEN STOCK
  1. 2 liters (8 cups) water
  2. 2 boneless chicken breasts (I used 4, as they were frozen together. And make no bones about it, I really used skinless, boneless chicken breasts – YES you can do this and still make a good chicken broth!)
  3. 1 tomato (cut in ¼’s)
  4. 1 onion (cut in ¼’s)
  5. 1/2 red bell pepper
  6. 1 celery rib
  7. 1 carrot, peeled and cut in 1/2
  8. 6 garlic cloves, smashed (I used 8!)
  9. 8 -10 peppercorns
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  12. 1 bay leaf
FOR RICE
  1. 3 cups chicken stock
  2. 2 cups uncooked rice
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1/2 teaspoon achiote paste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
FOR THE CARROTS
  1. 2 cups chicken stock (or water)
  2. 1 large carrot, chopped fine
  3. 1 cup sweet corn
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced (I used 2!)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  7. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  8. 1/4 teaspoon curry
  9. 1 tablespoon Lizano sauce (or Worcestershire)
Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven (or similar) pot, add the ingredients for the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 ½ hours. When ready, take the chicken out and shred with the help of 2 forks, cover and set aside.
  2. Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large container discarding the solids and keep the broth - we will use it to make our rice.
  3. For the rice, in a medium pot, add all of the rice ingredients, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 min’s or so. Then open the lid and fluff the rice.
  4. For the carrots, in a small pan, add the chicken stock/water and chopped carrot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Add the corn, stir and then drain. Set aside.
  5. In the same Dutch oven you used for the chicken stock, add the butter and olive oil until sizzling, then add the red pepper, onion and garlic cloves, sauté for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the softened vegetables (carrots/corn) and the shredded chicken. Then add the curry, cumin, paprika, and Lizano sauce. Then add the rice, little by little, gently mixing ingredients with rice with a big spoon, taste and add salt or seasoning as necessary.
  7. Serve with a green salad, tortilla chips, or French fries. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This makes a lot and serves a lot!
Adapted from Multiple recipes online and my friend Dennis S.
Adapted from Multiple recipes online and my friend Dennis S.
Costa Rica Chica http://costaricachica.com/
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Hope y’all have a great day, I’m off to chow down on this fabulous Arroz con Pollo!

Man I hope Greg likes this, as this is what will be for dinner for the next week or so… lol

If you eat this for dinner, a glass of cold Clos vino blanco goes with it very nicely, just in case you were wondering…

Cheers & Pura Vida! — Jen

 

Jen

I quit my job in my early 40’s, sold everything and retired early to live a simple life in Costa Rica!

Check out my book: "Costa Rica Chica" - the book.

Check out my Arm Candy: Costa Rica Chica Arm Candy.

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