Arroz con YUM!
March 4, 2013 10:24 AM   Subscribe

What is your best arroz con pollo recipe?

All I know from arroz con pollo is the New York City Cuban restaurant version, which I love and would like to make myself.

How do I get the rice yellow? Just buy goya yellow rice?

I am feeling OK about the beans, but if there is anything you feel I should know let me know.
posted by shothotbot to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

Annato is the key to the yellow rice. You can buy it at any Mexican grocery store - it looks like little red seed pods, and will be with the other spices.

Simmer the seeds in vegetable oil until the oil turns orangey red. Drain the seeds, and store the oil in the fridge (I have also kept it in the cupboard but I feel safer keeping it in the fridge). It sounds like a pain in the ass to go through, but you can make a big batch at once and if you are like me, you will quickly get so addicted to real yellow garlic rice that you'll come to rely on having it around.

The recipe I make all the time is very basic: Chop 5-6 garlic cloves, saute them for a minute or so in a couple tablespoons of the oil, add a cup of rice and toss to coat. Add just under 2 cups of water, turn to very low and cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked through. Add 1/2 tsp of salt (or more if you prefer) and a few twists of freshly ground pepper. Viola!

I'm vegetarian so I don't know about the chicken part. but you should make that rice.
posted by something something at 10:46 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

I apologize for jacking this thread, but could you please expound on what makes "New York style cuban Arroz con Pollo"?

I only ask because I've been trying to perfect Cuban Arroz con Pollo as found in Houston. This recipe approximates what I've had fairly closely. I'm still skeptical that the dish I had in restaurants had tomato in them.

What I imagine is served as a paella dish, and isn't typically served with beans. So I think there might be a disconnect.
posted by politikitty at 10:58 AM on March 4, 2013

If you have saffron, a few strands in broth that you cook your rice in will make a HUGE difference. (at least that's the trick I've been told to get "Spain" yellow rice, annato (as somthing something specifies) is for "mexican" yellow rice")

both are delicious. You can use carolina or goya rice, whichever is on the bottom shelf of your local grocery (met or keyfoods type).

Actually I just fry a chopped onion (in a glug of oil, until translucent) in the pot, throw in the rice, stir until evenly mixed, throw in either saffron or annatto (whichever is handy), and then top off with broth. Cook until magnificent.
posted by larthegreat at 11:02 AM on March 4, 2013

A lot of people make it with Goya Rice. Annato does give it that ultra yellow color, but it's trying to ape Saffron, which is so much more expensive. Also, the Goya rice has chicken bullion in it, so it's pretty salty. It's a flavor, and it's quick, but you'll get no love from it.

Here's a recipe you may want to try.

Boneless Chicken cut up into pieces (or with bones, however you like it.)
Chicken stock
Red, green yellow bell pepper
Crushed garlic
Butter/olive oil
Peas for color and flavor

A large pot to accomodate all the yumminess.

Brown the chicken in oil and butter, set aside.

Over medium heat sautee the onion and peppers in the oil and butter mixture until soft. Low and slow is the way to go here.

Add a few threads of saffron. It should be very fragrant, you won't need much!

Take rice (I do a 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice) and saute it with the veggies. Add the garlic at the last minute. Stir a bit, but don't burn the garlic. Everything should have a yellowish tint and you should be able to smell the saffron.

Add the hot chicken stock to the rice and let it boil for a minute or so, add the chicken back in .

Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid. The chicken should be thoroughly cooked. Add frozen peas and let the whole thing sit off the heat for about 10 minutes.

It should make your house smell awesome and people should be circling the stove like vultures. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread and butter.

If you want it to be Paella, add shrimp, clams, mussles, sausages and chopped tomatoes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:02 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

A long time ago I had a boyfriend with a Cuban family. His grandmother approved of the recipe in Memories of a Cuban Kitchen enough to let his mom make it. The recipe has been reproduced online by the Orlando Sentinel but you can also get it through Amazon's More Inside on pages 210-211. En lieu of the white wine, his family swears by beer. It's an easy and forgiving dish if you follow the directions the first time and then start modifying it to fit your preferences.
posted by whatzit at 11:11 AM on March 4, 2013

I really love The Joy of Cooking's Arroz con Pollo. I cannot speak to its authenticity but it is a favorite in our house.
posted by cooker girl at 11:14 AM on March 4, 2013

Response by poster: but could you please expound on what makes "New York style cuban Arroz con Pollo"?

That's a fair question. It looks like this picture, and I suppose I could just try the recipe from that page but I was hoping someone would know just what I meant. It always comes with your choice of black or red beans.
posted by shothotbot at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2013

This Chowhound thread has a few suggestions on replacements for Sazon Goya. It's basically MSG, garlic powder, cumin, coriander and either annato or saffron depending on which kind you get.

In other words, the recipe you linked to is basically a prepackaged version of Ruthless Bunny's recipe: MSG instead of chicken stock, garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, cheap powdered saffron instead of the good stuff, but otherwise pretty much the same thing.

(Also: if you can get fresh annato, a.k.a. "achiote," give it a try. The dried stuff is pointless; but fresh, it isn't just fake saffron, it's got its own interesting flavor. It's sort of like the situation with turmeric: dried turmeric is just good for staining your clothes orange, but fresh turmeric root is a total epiphany if you can find it.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:43 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

It looks like this picture, and I suppose I could just try the recipe from that page but I was hoping someone would know just what I meant. It always comes with your choice of black or red beans.

That one is made with annato (the very deep yellow color gives it away.)

If you want my quick and dirty method for black beans...

1 can Goya Black Bean Soup (SOUP!)
garlic clove smashed
bell peppers
olive oil
Thyme (fresh or dried)

Saute the garlic, onions and bell peppers slowly until it smells amazing. Add the soup. Shake in some thyme.

I lived in Miami for 14 years and I have been adopted by a Cuban family. THEY taught me this, and I promise, you won't be sad. Now for Noche Buena, you do have to make the beans from scratch, but it's easy in a crock pot.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:56 PM on March 4, 2013

My quick arroz con pollo recipe, which I made tonight in 15 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking during Jeopardy:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup white rice
2 cups water
pinch saffron
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 cooked sausages (I used Aidell's andouille)
12 pitted kalamata olives, sliced (green olives or black olives are more traditional, but I like kalamatas)

Sauté the onion and pepper in the olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the oregano, thyme, turmeric, and paprika, and stir for a few seconds. Add the diced tomatoes with juice, rice, and water, and the saffron, crumbling the threads. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente, adding water as needed. Then add the chicken and sausage. Cook until the chicken is done but not tough, 5 minutes or so.* Add the sliced olives, stir, ensure everything is done to your liking, and serve. You can add chopped parsley or cilantro. I sometimes add peas or chickpeas if I have them and think they'd add flavor.

*With boneless, skinless chicken, it's important to cook it just until it's done, or for a long time. After a few minutes, it toughens up, at which point you need to cook it for a while, until it's tender again.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:33 PM on March 4, 2013

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