Peruvian Arroz con Pollo

Peruvian Arroz con Pollo

Peruvian Arroz con Pollo

What do the Peruvian Arroz con Pollo and Jambalaya from New Orleans have in common? They both originated from the Spanish Paella, but using local ingredients and spices, these dishes developed their own unique textures and flavors to become cultural icons of their city or country. In the case of Peru, what makes this Arroz con Pollo different from others in Latin America is an ingredient that is the star of many traditional Peruvian dishes — the colorful, spicy, and smoky, aji amarillo. Presenting, the Peruvian Arroz con Pollo, served in a Paella pan, family style, to honor the fusion of ingredients from Peru and Spain.

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone and skin on, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 bunches cilantro, to yield 2 cups of loosely packed leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups California Basmati rice
  • 1 red onion, diced to yield 2 cups
  • 1 red pepper, diced to yield 1 cup
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced to yield 1 cup
  • cooking oil
  • salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, about 1/2 teaspoon each for the sofrito
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons aji amarillo paste
  • 2 limes cut in quarters
  • cilantro leaves and steamed green peas for garnish
  • salsa criolla

In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a large pot to cook the chicken and a blender to make the cilantro purée.

  1. Make the cilantro purée by blending 2 cups cilantro leaves with 2 cups water
  2. In a large pot with cooking oil over high heat, brown all the pieces of chicken, starting with the skin side down, then turning over after 2-4 minutes and working in batches if needed
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside
  4. In the same pot, prepare the sofrito by sautéing the onions with the garlic and aji amarillo, when the onions are starting to become translucent season with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano, then add the carrots and red pepper, continue to sauté a few more minutes
  5. Return the chicken to the pot and pour 3 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of the cilantro purée into the pot to cover the chicken, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and with a lid partially covering the pot, poach for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside
  7. Estimate the volume of liquid in the pot, and add the rice using the ratio of 2 cups of rice to 4 cups of simmering liquid
  8. Add 1 more cup of cilantro purée and 1 more cup of chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially covered with a lid until rice is cooked and yields about 8 cups
  9. Serve in a Paella pan, and garnish with steamed sweet peas, fresh cilantro leaves, and salsa criolla
  10. Cut 2 limes into quarters for squeezing a few drops of lime juice on each serving

8 servings.


When cooking the rice, stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Because the simmering liquid is thickened with the cilantro purée and the sofrito, the rice needs more liquid than the usual 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice to cook. This recipe uses 3 parts liquid to 1 part rice, but if the rice is still al dente after most of the simmering liquid has evaporated, add 1-2 more cups of water.