Play Nice, Rice! Arroz con Pollo

Hello friends!

So while I was up in Maine for Labor Day Weekend, I thought I’d dive into my next series of cooking experiments: rice.

Now I am one of those fortunate people who owns a rice cooker, so I actually have no idea how to cook rice on its own or in recipes. I’ve made risotto once or twice, but just plain old rice is sort of an enigma to me.

I thought I’d kick things off with another exciting recipe from Joy of Cooking, namely, Arroz con Pollo. I’m not actually sure if I’ve mentioned that I’m Hispanic?

“But Jess, are you sure? You’re so….ghastly pale white in your pictures!”

Yeah, believe it or not, I’m actually half Hispanic, half Italian, and half-vampire to account for the whiteness.

I know that’s three halves; deal with it.

Arroz con Pollo - On Sugar Mountain

BUT back to the focus of today’s post: I LOVEEEEEE Arroz con Pollo. It’s chicken and rice and just all sorts of comfort in a bowl. Sadly, I really can’t find any good places to get it where I live.

That’s why, when I stumbled upon it in JOC, I knew it’d be the best recipe to start with for rice dishes.


what I should have accounted for in this equation….

if one is tackling a new area of culinary technique, one should not do it in someone else’s kitchen.

We were up at the cottage and well, things got terrifying oh my god you guys I hate everyone’s kitchen but mine a little out of hand. I had no idea where things were located and the pans available to me were not my go-to nonstick surface pans.

That cottage kitchen is gorgeous, so naturally I felt out of place when I became instantaneously sweaty, frenzied, and speckled with hot oil.


Arroz con Pollo - On Sugar Mountain

With one look at me and the then-stuck-to-the-pan chicken thighs, my boyfriend pretty much walked in, turned around and walked right out.

Who could blame him?

THANKFULLY I scraped the evil birds out of the pan and was able to cook up the rice, nestle those thighs back in there, and end up with a surprisingly delightful meal of Arroz con Pollo.

Was there a nice layer of burnt rice on the bottom of the pan?

Arroz con Pollo - On Sugar Mountain

You bet your sweet butt there was! It’s okay though; this recipe makes a ton and the rest of the rice is perfect. If you are at home, in your comfort zone, and surrounded by appliances and pots and pans you hold dear, this recipe would be a breeze!

So don’t be intimidated due to my inability to function like an adult and not run screaming from hot oil.

It was really hot.

Seriously: some of it popped up and hit me square on the nose….

Arroz con Pollo - On Sugar Mountain

I was just trying to smell all the goodness of Arroz con Pollo! (pout).

Ah well, I’ll be back Monday with either more rice recipes or an Autumny sweet treat.

Happy Eating!


Arroz con Pollo

Slightly Adapted from The Joy of Cooking Cookbook

  • 3 ½ to 4 ½ lbs chicken parts
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz ham (or bacon) diced
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp saffron (if possible)
  • 1/2 of one 16oz bag frozen peas
  • 1 small (7oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
  • 1 jar (I think it’s 10 oz or so) green olives, drained
  1. Season chicken parts with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches, and brown on all sides. Remove chicken to a platter and reserve 3 tbsp of drippings before discarding the rest..
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onions, bell pepper, and ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is coated in the drippings.  Add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring the entire time. Then, add chicken broth along with oregano and saffron (if using).
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to loosen any browned bits. Return the chicken pieces to the pot and pour in any accumulated juices. Cover and simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Finally, stir in peas, roasted red peppers, and green olives. Cover and cook until rice is tender, about another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6

All Photos, Recipes (Unless Otherwise Specified) And Writing Copyright © 2013 Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain


  1. says

    Love it! I woke up to this recipe in my WP reader and HAD to try it. Can you believe I made it already?
    I Indianized it (of course), by rubbing the chicken with chili powder, garam masala, ginger and garlic. Followed the rest of the recipe, though I didn’t have olives, but it came out amazing. I think cooking the rice and chicken in stock makes all the difference. Thanks for the lunch inspiration today!

  2. says

    I have always wanted to make this dish.. it looks like an amazing one pot wonder. :) You did a beautiful job… I love the color. It makes me want to dive into that pot!! Have a great weekend!! ~ Ramona

  3. says

    I’m so jealous you have a rice cooker! I’ve always wanted one of those! haha I’m outrageously pale too – at this point I’ve learned to embrace my pasty-whiteness : ) Hope you have a great weekend Jess!!

  4. says

    I think it is funny that, because of a (marvelous) convenience appliance, you didn’t know how to cook rice despite your many culinary skills! Glad my non-techie-ness proved useful for something. :) I love rice. It is probably my favorite food. Arroz con Pollo is my all time favorite. Your delicious looking Arroz con Pollo is making me hungry! Does the original recipe call for a particular kind of rice? It can make a huge difference. Most of my hispanic recipes call for short grain rice.


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