Arroz Con Pollo 101

Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins

When made with an aromatic mix of roasted peppers and saffron, everyday chicken and rice is deliciously transformed into arroz con pollo, a Latin-American favorite. A short-grain rice such as Bomba, from Spain, absorbs the liquid without becoming mushy. Threads of saffron turn it a vibrant red-orange and impart fragrance and flavor.


  • Large pinch saffron

  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

  • 4 whole chicken legs, split, or 8 bone-in, skin-on thighs (about 2 pounds)

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, minced (1 ¼ cups)

  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced (2 tablespoons)

  • 6 piquillo or other jarred roasted red peppers, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 ½ cups short-grain rice, such as Bomba or Arborio

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • ¾ cup frozen peas, slightly thawed


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine saffron and wine in a bowl. Pat chicken dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large straight-sided ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook, skin-side down, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and brown other sides, about 1 minute. Remove from skillet.

  2. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from skillet. Add onion, garlic, and peppers; cook over medium-high until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 30 seconds more.

  3. Stir in rice to coat with fat and toast, about 30 seconds. Add wine mixture; cook until completely evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in bay leaves, broth, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

  4. Return chicken, skin-side up, to pan. Bring liquid to a full boil. Cover and bake in oven until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender, and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Add peas; cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

    Bryan Gardner


Replace the peppers with 1/4 cup minced ginger. Just before the tomato paste, add 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and 3 cardamom pods; cook 30 seconds.

Omit the saffron and wine. Replace the onion with 8 thinly sliced scallions, and the peppers with 1/4 cup minced ginger and 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh shiitake-mushroom caps. Skip the tomato paste. Replace the peas with blanched broccolini.

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