Years ago, we had this killer arroz con pollo recipe that had diced tomatoes, whole cloves, and other items in it that made it really, really good. That recipe got lost in one of the many moves, so we’ve spent the better part of the last decade trying to recreate the whole recipe. After many failures, we’ve fused a bunch of different recipes together to come up with this one.
A couple of notes about the recipe – for the chicken, use your preferred amount – some people like it chicken-heavy, while others like it rice-heavy. I’m using canolive oil rather than straight olive oil to raise the smoke point so it doesn’t smoke when you sear the meat. It doesn’t change the final product at all. If you prefer not to use whole cloves, you can either sprinkle on powdered cloves to taste and stir through at the end, or you can leave it out entirely. If you use whole cloves, however, remember to remove them before serving. You wouldn’t want someone to break a tooth.
Although I didn’t include it, if you want to make a more traditional arroz con pollo, you can also add these optional ingredients to the recipe: 3/4 c. fresh peas, 1 (4 oz) jar pimentos, drained, and 1/2 (8 oz) jar pimento-stuffed green olives, drained and sliced.
Arroz con Pollo
8-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 c. canolive oil
2 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 c. medium-grain white rice
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 small red bell pepper, diced
8 whole cloves (or powdered cloves to taste) – optional
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear the chicken until lightly browned, then set aside. Lower the heat to medium, and stir in the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and red pepper flakes and cook until the onions and pepper has softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice, and season with salt, pepper and saffron. Cook until rice is golden, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, green chiles, chicken broth, and cloves. Place chicken thighs on top, then bring to a boil, cover and place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, and then sprinkle the optional ingredients (peas, pimentos, and olives) on top if desired. Pour in the water, but do not stir. Recover and continue baking until the chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove cloves (if used), and serve.