Family Tradition and Comfort Food
So many family traditions center around food, don’t they? When my husband’s family gets together, we always have certain recipes we request: ropa vieja, pastelitos, “Cuban turkey,” fried yucca, croqueta, and arroz con pollo. Over the years, my husband has been learning to make all of these traditional Cuban recipes.
A few years ago, his mom taught him how she makes this delicious Family Style Cuban Arroz con Pollo. It’s so good! I’m crazy about the super flavorful rice and love to get a big bowl and enjoy it from my favorite cozy spot on the couch.
When making arroz con pollo, the rice I go for is RiceSelect® Arborio rice. It’s the perfect rice choice to take your meal to the next level. Click on the image below to buy it now!
I bought my container of RiceSelect Arborio rice at Walmart in the rice section (be sure to grab the Ibotta offer at the end of this post below the recipe):
RiceSelect Arborio rice is really the best rice and grains you’ll find, which lets you focus on playing with flavors, ingredients, and techniques as you develop unforgettable dishes for your family and friends.
I love that RiceSelect is always Non-GMO, free from artificial ingredients, flavors, and preservatives and also presented in a BPA-Free Plastic Jar for that extra premium touch.
For this Family Style Cuban Arroz con Pollo, one jar is the perfect amount of rice. But I also keep jars of RiceSelect on hand at all times for any recipe.
Making Family Style Cuban Arroz con Pollo
Every family has their own way of making arroz con pollo. It does taste different depending on the family or restaurant making it, but there are a few key ingredients: sofrito, chicken, beer or wine, spices, and rice.
To make my Family Style Cuban Arroz con Pollo, we start by making the sofrito in a big pot. Sauté chopped onion and green bell pepper in olive oil.
Next, add minced garlic, tomato sauce, chopped pimentos, chicken bullion, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. We cook this mixture together for a few minutes. Then, we add water and chicken. You can use boneless skinless chicken breast, but do use at least some chicken thighs and legs with the skin on – they add so much flavor!
Next, we add sazón with saffron seasoning. You can find this at Walmart. It is a bright yellow color and we always find it either in the spice section or the latin foods aisle. This seasoning adds a lot of flavor and color.
Next, we add beer. Some families use wine, but we prefer the flavor from an inexpensive beer (don’t get fancy with the beer!).
An Important Word About the Cooking Pot
You will want a big pan with a lid that can go into your oven. Let me stress that it needs to be big. We picked up a basic roaster with a lid from Walmart and it is perfect for making arroz con pollo! It’s about 19 inches long, so if you don’t have one you can use a very large pan of a similar size.
We also do every step right in this big pan. It covers two burners on our stove, so we just set it on the stove, turn on the two burners, and do the entire arroz con pollo making process right in this one pan. But if you prefer to use a big pot for the stove top portion of this recipe, that is fine! Just transfer all of the ingredients to a big pan with a lid right before baking.
Smell That Home Cooking
When the Arroz con Pollo is finishing baking, remove it from the oven carefully, take off the lid, and very carefully give the rice and chicken a good stir. We usually take some of the rice out and let it cool so we can taste it and adjust seasonings if needed.
It really feels like an absolute must to serve this Family Style Cuban Arroz con Pollo with peas. Grandma would insist!
We also love to eat it with some extra pimentos on the side and more salt. For some reason, we just like this dish to be pretty salty, but we hold back on the salt in the actual recipe so that people can add their own according to their taste.
We also love to serve the chicken and rice with fried yucca, plantains, and Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso for dessert.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 4 chicken bullion cubes
- 4 ounce jar chopped pimentos
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 7 cups of water, divided
- 4 pounds chicken (bone-in and skin on chicken thighs and legs recommended)
- 2–3 tablespoons yellow sazón with saffron seasoning
- 32 ounces RiceSelect Arborio rice
- 36 ounces beer
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and green bell peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, chicken bullion, chopped pimentos, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté together for 1 minute.
- Add 4 cups of the water; stir well. Add the chicken and 2-3 tablespoons of yellow sazón with saffron seasoning. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
- Carefully pour the contents of the cooking pot into a large roaster pan with a lid.
- Add the RiceSelect Arborio rice, 36 ounces of beer, and the remaining 3 cups of water; stir well.
- Place the lid on the roasting pan. Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Remove the lid and allow the arroz con pollo to cool slightly for 5 minutes before serving.
- Cuisine: Cuban
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