Home ยป Arroz con Pollo {for Krystal & Cookie}

Arroz con Pollo {for Krystal & Cookie}


Today, we’re celebrating! My friend Krystal is having a baby this spring, which she has for the time being, named “Cookie”. Krystal and her husband, Eric, are so excited for Cookie’s arrival and they have opted out of knowing the baby’s gender – love it! If only I had such patience!

I met Krystal at Foodbuzz Festival in San Fran this past fall after being blog friends for quite some time. Without a doubt, Krystal is one of the kindest, most generous, and loving people I’ve ever met. She emits love and pregnant or not, the woman GLOWS. Her smile and dimples light up a room and she is the type of person that makes you want to be a better person. I feel blessed to have met her and to call her my friend.

arrozconpollo3Krystal’s Virtual Baby Shower will hopefully warm her heart from the middle of Ohio, all the way to sunny SoCal where she lives {{jealous}}. But this shower isn’t just any shower, it’s Cuban and Filipino-inspired by the lovely women and bloggers who are participating (I’ll provide a link to the whole line-up of dishes tomorrow!).

Krystal is adorable, and Filipino. Her husband Eric (who has to be amazing to have tied her down), is Cuban. Having no experience with either ethnic cuisines, I needed guidance.

My brother’s most recent girlfriend (not that there have been many…) is Filipino. So I was going to ask her for some suggestions, but then my brother had to rain on my parade and dump the girl. And even though “they’re still friends”…I’m sooo not going there.


I did what any savvy and educated person would do…I Googled. The Filipino route was a bit intimidating, so I switched over my search to something Cuban.

I found myself on a website of three smiley Cuban men with links to their “authentic” Cuban meals. I have to put “authentic” in quotes because…well, I have no clue what’s authentic and what’s not! Supposedly, however, this dish is a traditional Cuban lunch (Krystal, can you ask Eric to verify, please? Love, Your Curious Friend).

What I do know is that Arroz con Pollo is a staple meal in many southern countries. Yes, that includes a lot of countries, and yes, that’s very vague. However, there’s something about this golden rice that just draws me in.


After trimming some fat from this recipe, I decided to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in place of the skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs the recipe suggested. I can only assume that this was a very unauthentic move, but making recipes healthier is what I do. No apologies!

I did my grocery shopping and pulled up the website with the three smiley Cuban men and started on my recipe. At the bottom of the site I see, for the first time, that it says very clearly NOT to use chicken breasts because the recipe would be a “disaster” – their words, not mine! I got a little scared, but I was committed at this point with my nine boneless, skinless chicken breasts seasoned and ready to pop into the skillet.

I followed the recipe, with few other modifications, and ended up with a fluffy, spiced rice with a golden yellow hue and moist chicken breasts that needed no knife to cut through. If this is Cuban food, I want more of it.



Arroz con Pollo adapted from Three Guys from Miami

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
9 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-oz bottle lager beer
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin, ground + more to season chicken
1 tsp salt + more to season chicken
1/2 tsp black pepper + more to season chicken
3 1/2 cups parboiled rice
1/2 cup frozen peas


Season the chicken lightly with salt, pepper and cumin. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Set aside and cover with tin foil.

To the skillet with remaining hot oil, add the onion and green pepper, cooking until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two.

Pour chicken broth and beer into a large Dutch oven. Add the browned chicken, cooked onions and green pepper, tomato sauce, saffron, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring everything to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cover and cook on low for 10-12 minutes.

Add the rice; stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. When the rice has absorbed some of the liquid, cover and simmer on low for about 40-45 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked and not soupy. Add the frozen peas during the last five minutes of cooking.

Yield: 9 servings (4 ounces chicken + ~1 1/4 cup of rice).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 450 calories; 4 g. fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 501 mg. sodium; 63.9 g. carbohydrate; 1.4 g. fiber; 34.3 g. protein

Result: Simple and flavorful. Not spicy, but spiced. This is a hearty, filling meal that is perfect to feed a crowd – it makes a lot and the portion is generous! I love the flavors of onion & pepper with the cumin and beer. Loved this – and so did Mr. P! Enjoy!



Krystal & Eric: Cheers to you, to Cookie, and a life of really great food. So happy for you both!

All my love,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Kate
    March 4, 2012 / 6:50 am

    I always make my arroz con pollo with chicken breasts

  2. Gina (The Candid RD)
    March 4, 2012 / 7:32 am

    What a sweet post!! This girl must be pretty awesome, you have so many great things to say about her! And, this recipe is GARLIC FREE, I can’t believe it! It’s being pinned as we speak (yes, I signed up for pinterest…..so far I have tamed myself and haven’t spent much time on it!).

  3. Rhonda
    March 4, 2012 / 11:59 am

    Well it certainly doesn’t look like a disaster to me, it looks great. Congrats to your friends.

  4. Biz
    March 4, 2012 / 1:06 pm

    I love flavorly spiced food – looks delicious Nicole! Some day I hope to make it to the Foodbuzz Festival – if it weren’t for all the medical bills ๐Ÿ™

    Enjoy your Sunday!

  5. Faith
    March 4, 2012 / 3:21 pm

    This looks incredible! Rice dishes like this are so homey, aren’t they? Congrats to Krystal on the upcoming arrival of her little one!

  6. Tracee
    March 4, 2012 / 6:09 pm

    We always put green olives in ours. Not a lot, probably a dozen for the whole pot! Yummm…thinking I’ve got everything for dinner tomorrow night!

    • Nicole, RD
      March 4, 2012 / 6:45 pm

      YUM! I love green olives…next time, for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Ashley Trowbridge
    March 4, 2012 / 7:22 pm

    This looks amazing! Any thoughts on a substitute for the saffron threads? I’m too cheap and have never bought any…

  8. Kerstin
    March 4, 2012 / 10:47 pm

    The golden rice always gets me too – yum! Looks very flavorful, congrats to your friend!

  9. Brianna
    March 4, 2012 / 10:55 pm

    haha, I also came across the three smiley cuban men when I was looking for my Cuban hamburger recipe! I’ve never made this dish, but need to. Looks delicious! I only wish we could taste all of these shower offerings all together!

  10. Krystal R.
    March 5, 2012 / 1:51 am

    Waaa, you are the sweetest woman ever Nicole! Arroz con pollo is one of our favorite dishes to make. Traditionally you eat it after New Year’s Eve, to ring in the new year. it’s so comforting and a great way to feed tons of people. Thanks again for participating in my virtual shower, and I’m super impressed that Mr. P made nachos with the leftovers from this! Soooo impressive!!!

  11. Dianne
    March 5, 2012 / 7:01 am

    I will defnitely be making this one. Nice twist on the recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Samantha Angela
    March 5, 2012 / 1:01 pm

    I actually have a cake and pastry cookbook from the Philippines that my friend brought back for me after visiting in November. Most of the recipes are the same as ones you would find here, but there were a few with interesting ingredients too like macapuno and buko (which I think are both types of coconut)

  13. telesma
    March 5, 2012 / 2:41 pm

    I always remove the skin, but I use bone-in thighs for this.

    Thighs have better texture and flavor when cooked in something like this than breasts do. Breast can become stringy when cooked a long time, unless you can get an older bird, like a stewing hen, which is impossible in most supermarkets these days. Bone in chicken also gives more flavor for anything cooked a long time like stew, soup, jambalaya, or arroz con pollo. So you might want to try it the “authentic” way and see what the flavor difference is.

    Otherwise, it looks quite good and I intend to try it.

  14. telesma
    March 5, 2012 / 2:42 pm

    *Meaning, I intend to try this recipe, instead of the one I usually use. Derp.

  15. Nikki
    March 5, 2012 / 3:22 pm

    Like you and Brianna, I also came across the three smiley guys! lol! And, you’re right, Krystal DOES glow and I don’t think it’s only because she’s pregnant either. That girl is just awesome.

    I love the sound of this dish. So glad we were all able to venture into a new cuisine world and share such delicious new recipe!

  16. Heidi @ Food Doodles
    March 5, 2012 / 6:59 pm

    Mmm, this looks like total comfort food to me. Then again any variation of chicken and rice is comfort food to me. I’ve never had traditional arroz con pollo but this looks awesome. The spices sound so good ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Jessica @ Sunny Side Up
    March 5, 2012 / 9:04 pm

    There was no doubt in my mind that whatever you whipped up for this shower was going to be both delicious and nutritious. Mmmmm, think you hit the nail on the head.

  18. katie
    March 13, 2012 / 1:30 pm

    wow–this looks and sounds fantastic.

  19. Pingback: Chicken Entrees
  20. Peter @ Feed Your Soul Too
    October 4, 2013 / 4:11 pm

    This is such a classic Cuban dish and yours looks awesome. I featured it on my Friday Five – Cuban addition over at Feed Your Soul Too – http://www.feedyoursoul2.com/2

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