Arroz con Pollo Near Me: A Latin American Comfort Food Classic

Arroz con Pollo Near Me: A Latin American Comfort Food Classic

Arroz con pollo and that’s it? Yes, folks, chicken with rice (and some spicing wizardry) and that’s it. Welcome to one of the most classic dishes in the world of Latin American comfort food. 

This dish gives us everything we need: warmth, simplicity and a delicious taste of home. Here we will look at the classic regional variations and the traditional recipe with Mexican red rice.

So save this post for the next time you need a dish that will pamper both your belly and your heart.

What is arroz con pollo? Well, this time the answer is (almost) literal. This classic of Spanish and Latin American cuisine consists of rice cooked with chicken, either pre-cut or shredded, vegetables and seasoned with spices. 

However, as it is very versatile, this dish takes on different flavors and tones depending on the country and region where it is served. From Mexican red rice to the aromatic spices of Cuban cuisine, all the way around through Colombia and Peru to Argentina, arroz con pollo reflects Latin America’s rich repertoire of colorful ingredients.

Beyond Latin America, chicken and rice are prized ingredients in cuisines around the world. From Asian stir-fries to Middle Eastern pilafs, variations of this timeless duo can be found in cuisines on every continent. 

Nevertheless, it’s the Latin American interpretation of arroz con pollo that truly captures the comforting simplicity of this warm delicious dish.

Mexican cuisine is recognized worldwide for its diversity of flavors, colors and textures. The fusion of local ingredients with products brought by the Spaniards during the time of the conquest led to the creation of dishes such as mole, pozole, tamales and guacamole, which today are an essential part of Mexican gastronomy.

One of the pillars of Mexican food is corn and, of course, it takes its place in the beloved arroz con pollo. In this region, this traditional dish is assembled with the unique Mexican red rice, corn, broccoli, carrot cubes, and of course, chicken. 

In Cuba it is prepared with a touch of cumin, oregano and a special product called Bijol. This Cuban condiment is a powder obtained by crushing the grains of the bijol or achiote and is used to season and give yellow color to food. 

Small tip: saffron is a good alternative and fulfills the requirement of providing that color to the whole.

In Colombia, arroz con pollo is made with shredded chicken previously cooked in water with various seasonings such as onion, garlic, bell bell pepper, cilantro, etc. 

Then the rice is cooked with the chicken broth. Finally, the cooked and shredded chicken is added with chopped vegetables to taste. It is accompanied with salads, slices of ripe plantain, plantain or french fries.

Going further to South America, in Argentina the characteristic red and warm tone of this dish is found in the tomato sauce. Thus, although corn is not included in Argentina, it is quite similar to the Mexican red rice option.

In Argentina, the rice is prepared in a sauce generally made with tomato puree, vegetables and chicken pieces. All seasoned with the spices used in stews, such as paprika, cumin and bay leaves.

If you feel tempted by this variation and are looking for the best tomato puree substitute, canned tomatoes, passata, pizza sauce or marinara sauce are fine options.

To make a traditional Mexican arroz con pollo, first we have to start with its characteristic arroz rojo. So, how to make Mexican red rice, you ask? Here is the step by step. 

  • 1 cup white long grain rice (300 grams approx.)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  •  2 cups of water  
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 1/2 white or purple onion 
  • 1 green chile 
  • 1 dessert teaspoon cumin powder  
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste of each house) 
  • Vegetable oil or olive oil (3 tablespoons)
  1.  The first step is to peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Next, peel and chop into small cubes our onion and green chili. We will put a splash of oil in a large non-stick pan (3 tablespoons approximately) and we will heat it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and onion and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. 
  2. Then lightly fry the rice and add the pepper and salt to taste along with the cumin. Stir everything well so that the flavors are integrated. Let the rice cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. 
  3. When the time has elapsed, we will have to add the tomato sauce. Continue mixing and then add the water. We can also make this rice with chicken broth. 
  4. After elaborating the mixture we will have to lower the fire and we will let our rice cook with the pot covered and without moving it for 20 minutes. Then, we will uncover the rice and if we see that the liquid has not been absorbed completely, we can let it cook for 5 more minutes. In those kitchens where the power is not very high, it is possible that the rice takes up to 30 minutes to cook.

And now you have your Mexican red rice ready to combine with the chicken and let the magic happen. Let’s get to the chicken with rice recipe.

  • Mexican red rice
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Diced carrots
  • Chicken
  1. Prepare Mexican red rice: Follow the recipe above for the red rice.
  2. Cook the chicken: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Prepare the vegetables: In the same skillet, add the corn, broccoli and carrot cubes. Sauté the vegetables until tender-crisp, retaining their vibrant colors and fresh flavors.
  4. Mix the ingredients together: Once the vegetables are done, add the cooked Mexican red rice to the skillet. Mix with the sautéed vegetables to create a flavorful base for the dish.
  5. Add the chicken: Return the cooked chicken pieces to the skillet, nestling them into the rice and vegetable mixture. This allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the dish while rounding out the ingredients.
  6. Simmer, serve, garnish: Cover the skillet and let the ingredients simmer together for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend and the dish to heat through.
    Once everything is piping hot and infused with the delicious flavors of Mexican cuisine, serve your authentic arroz con pollo with a sprinkling of cilantro on top for garnish.

And so it was, you finally arrived at the definitive guide to your Latin American comfort food of choice.

Arroz con pollo is a delicious ambassador of Latin American cuisine. Whether you crave the flavors of Mexican red rice or the comforting embrace of arroz con pollo colombiano, there’s a version of this timeless dish waiting to be tasted near you. 

So now you know, it’s time to embrace arroz con pollo and celebrate the best of comfort food.

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