Arroz con pollo is a popular dish in Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and throughout Latin America, and many versions of this dish are seasoned with turmeric (a Latin American substitute for saffron), which gives the rice a yellow color. This popular Peruvian-style dish, however, is green (verde), and gets its color from lots of cilantro. The other difference in this dish is that the broth is flavored with beer.
Most recipes for arroz con pollo start with a sofrito or a mixture of sautéed vegetables and seasonings. Different regions use different combinations of ingredients in their sofrito, adding a distinctive flavor to the dish.
- 2 cups loosely packed (roughly chopped cilantro leaves)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 chicken breast halves with skin (cut into 4 to 6 pieces)
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons cumin (divided)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided (or to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped red pepper
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups peas
- 4 cups uncooked rice
- 4 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 bottle of dark beer
Place the cilantro in a blender with about 1/4 cup water. Process the cilantro, adding more water if needed, until it is completely puréed.
Rub the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of the cumin. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, turning frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until well browned. When the chicken is browned on all sides, remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the crushed garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper to the oil used to fry the chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are softened.
Add the diced carrots and the peas and sauté for several minutes more.
Add the water (or chicken stock), remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin. Add the chicken pieces back to the pot. Add the rice and the cilantro purée. Cover pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Lower heat to medium-low and simmer the rice and chicken mixture, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add more chicken stock or water if more liquid is needed.
When the rice is almost done, add some of the beer to taste. Stir and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
Place rice in a large serving dish. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and serve.