One-Pan Arroz con Pollo is incredibly easy to make, and makes for an impressive presentation when brought to the table right in its skillet.
One-pan Arroz con Pollo
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I am posting my recipe for One-Pan Arroz con Pollo—a dish with roots in Spain and Puerto Rico that is practically ubiquitous throughout Latin America. The dish is done in under an hour, but best of all, its components are cooked in the same pan. When presented at the table in its skillet, it makes for a truly impressive meal.
One-Pan Arroz con Pollo: ingredients and “the perfect bite”
Although this One-Pan Arroz con Pollo contains a lot of spices, it’s not spicy-hot (unless you’re one of those people who thinks that mustard is spicy). This version includes a garnish of pickled onion, which I make separately and store in the fridge.
The inspiration for this addition was an experience I had at a local Peruvian-American restaurant: I ordered the Arroz con Pollo and wasn’t blown away by the dish—until I mixed in some of the pickled onion that was served on the side. Somehow, that garnish managed to offset and highlight the complex, savory flavors in a way that I would not have thought possible. You can see my Yelp review, along with my original photo of “The Perfect Bite” (reconstructed below) here.
A bit more about that “perfect bite.” People who know me well know that this is an actual thing with me. As I eat, I winnow and hone the food on my plate down to one perfect, final bite that has just the right amount of everything (also known as my “dessert bite”). The dessert bite is sacred. I savor that last bite, enjoying it so much that I rarely ever eat an actual dessert.
Perfect bites aside, One-Pan Arroz con Pollo is as simple and inexpensive as it is impressive. The one-pan approach means fewer dishes and easier clean-up.
I keep chicken leg quarters and chicken thighs, which I buy in large quantities when they’re on sale, in my freezer as one of my many strategies for cooking fantastic food on a shoestring budget. I keep the other ingredients stocked in my pantry.
About the pickled onion…
I realize that technically, the pickled onion garnish makes One-Pan Arroz con Pollo a two-vessel meal. But it’s an optional addition and should be made ahead of time: it goes well with a lot of different things and it can be stored in your refrigerator for quite some time.
I’ve actually kept the pickled onion for a couple of months and it was just fine. I highly recommend it as a garnish, though, because it’s incredibly easy to make and acts as a wonderful counterpoint to the other flavors and textures of this dish.
And there you have it: One-Pan Arroz con Pollo is fancy enough for an impressive Sunday dinner, but simple enough to pull off on a weeknight. I hope you love it! (For more one-pot dinner ideas, check out Mastering Easy One-Pot Meal Recipes!)
Happy Cinco de Mayo de mi cocina a la tuya!! Enjoy!
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or 4 leg quarters
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 1 medium Vidalia onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup sliced roasted sweet red pepper or pimento
- 1 cup green olives pitted (preferably stuffed with pimento)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp. chili powder or to taste (I like ancho or guajillo)
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground (or to taste)
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 medium red onion sliced thinly into rings
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. sugar or Splenda
Add red onions to a small, round plastic container with a tight-fitting lid (small Ziploc twist n' loc containers are perfect). Mix vinegar and sugar; pour over the onions. Shake and keep in the refrigerator for up to a month. They will turn bright pink and soften as they cure.
NOTE: if you need the pickled onions done faster, you can nuke the onions and vinegar mixture in the microwave for a minute on high first. Keep at room temperature until dinner is ready, then store in the refrigerator.
Trim as much fat as practical from the chicken. Score the meat and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you prep the other ingredients, or in the refrigerator up to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, warm the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until golden-brown, about 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium-low; remove chicken to a plate and reserve.
Wipe excess fat from the pan, then add the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic; sauté for an additional minute. Add the rice and roasted pepper to the skillet; sauté 1 minute. Add the spices; sauté an additional minute.
Carefully add the wine and stir until absorbed, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth, olives, and tomatoes to the skillet; bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 30 seconds. Arrange the chicken on top of the rice, skin side up. (The dish will be quite soupy at this point and the chicken will be partially submerged. No worries! The rice will absorb it all!) Pour any accumulated juices over the top.
Lid the skillet and place in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes (45-50 in total), or as necessary until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F), liquid is absorbed, and the rice is tender.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over the dish and serve. Enjoy!
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