Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice

chicken rice pigeon peas
Photo: Christopher Testani
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

Our take on Puerto Rican-style arroz con pollo starts with the aromatic blend of onion, garlic, cilantro, and Cubanelle peppers known as recaito.


  • 2 Cubanelle peppers, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

  • 3 cups packed cilantro sprigs, plus more for serving (from 1 large bunch)

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed

  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 whole chicken (3 ½ pounds), cut into 8 pieces

  • 1 ¾ cups medium-grain white rice

  • 1 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

  • 1 can (15 ounces) pigeon peas, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

  • cup pimiento-stuffed olives


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Puree until smooth.

  2. In a small bowl, combine coriander, chili powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat chicken dry and season all over with spice mixture. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large, straight-sided ovenproof skillet or braiser pan over medium-high. Add chicken in a single layer, skin-sides down, and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add rice to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until nutty-smelling and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in cilantro mixture and cook until mostly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in broth, 1 cup water, bay leaf, and peas. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet in a single layer, skin-sides up. Bring to a boil. Scatter capers and olives over top, then cover and transfer to oven. Cook until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken (near but not touching bones) reads 165 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve, garnished with more cilantro.

Cook's Notes

Ask the butcher to cut up the chicken for you, or look for pieces in the meat department of your grocery store. Or, get our step-by-step instructions on breaking down a chicken here.

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