Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Arroz Con Pollo or Puerto Rican Cookery in the Yucatan

I never thought I would be posting recipes but the house is creeping along and I hate not to blog for weeks on end.... I miss it. I hope someone likes my recipes! The following recipe is my favorite 'company' dinner. I have been making it for almost the 35+ years CQ and I have been married. It is the most requested dish when we need to bring a dish to an event and even CQ's relatives love it. You can play with it and add other things like peas or corn, but I usually make it just like below. So try it and let me know how it turns out for you! Buen Provencho!

Arroz Con Pollo

2-3 cups uncooked rice (wash and drain your rice)
1 lb chicken parts – I prefer to use chicken legs only, you may want to marinade the chicken in Mojo Criollo overnight, if not available use garlic, oil and adobo seasoning.
1  small Spanish style Chorizo, sliced
1 small can tomatoes with jalapeños
2 tablespoons of whole Spanish Olives, with red pimento
1 teaspoon alcaparras (capers)
½ cup sofrito or about 4 cubes if you’ve used my previous recipe
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 – 2 envelopes of sazon a Puerto Rican seasoning. (this has the achiote which is what colors the rice the traditional yellow color)
½ cup vegetable oil
4-5 cups of chicken broth (I prefer low salt)

In a large caldero (this is an aluminum pot with top, the most traditional pot used in the Hispanic kitchen) brown the chicken parts in the oil, 5 minutes each side. Add the slices of chorizos as well as the sofrito cubes, sazon and black pepper.
Add rice to the pot and stir. Add the Spanish olives and the capers; also add the can of tomatoes with jalapeños.
Add the chicken broth until the water is about 1 inch above the rice, stir once only.
Boil uncovered, over high heat, until liquid is absorbed.
Once the broth is absorbed gently stir from bottom to top, just a couple of turns only.
Cover and continue to cook over LOW heat for another 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
A typical caldero
Hints . . .
Resist the temptation to stir. Too much stirring causes the rice to become "amogollao" or sticky.
It is traditional to cook the chicken with bones and all. People will just pull the meat off the bones with their fork.
If you have cilantro and more pimento add some to the top of the pot once it is done, for a garnish.
Don't let your rice get smoked from cooking at too high temperature.
For great pegao* just cook a bit longer keeping an eye on it.
For a lot of pegao use a larger caldero (it will just be half empty).

*pegao: Any rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot is called "pegao" and is crispy and tasty and a favorite of all true Puerto Ricans. (it carries all the flavors of a dish) However, not everyone is skilled is making pegao - it is an art….And any honored guests of the table are offered the 'pegao' first!


  1. Thank God there will be at least one more Puerto Rican in the neighborhood. I've made this a million times and it's turned out good maybe once. Now my mother in law has gotten too old and infirm to cook and there's no one in the family who makes it for us anymore. This is not a hint. OK, yes it is.

  2. Lee, you know there are Puerto Ricans everywhere... we just need to find them. I bet we could find a few more in the Yucatan!
    Consider this a standing invitation for Arroz con Pollo whenever I make it!

  3. Hi Pat,When I read this recipe (I have a calerdo just like that btw) I thought to my self I don't remember it being called pegado. Now two hours later while I am doing something else, the word la raspa comes to mind.
    Your Puerto Rican recipes are very similar to the Cuban ones that I grew up eating.
    We should get together when you're here and cook!

    1. My good friend is from the Dominican Republic and there they call it "CONCON" for the sound that is made when you scrape the bottom of the caldero! Yes, I love to get together to cook... but maybe you would prefer some of Carlos fabulous curries!