Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Arroz con Pollo y Frijoles {Rice w/ Chicken & Beans}

It's I Heart Cooking Clubs time again, and this week's theme is Potluck!   As I was flipping through my Rick Bayless cookbook, trying to decide on what to make, I came across a recipe title that brought a few memories flooding back to my mind...Arroz con Pollo.   

The first and funniest memory of Arroz con Pollo being this clip of I Love Lucy, in which Lucy tries to explain to her suegra (mother-in-law), who doesn't speak or understand a word of English, what they will be having for dinner.

Arroz con Pollo also reminds me of Pappy, my grandfather.  He loved Arroz con Pollo!  It was his idea of the perfect meal, because you could make it in one pot, and add as much or as little of anything you wanted.  Pappy's recipe was constantly changing.  In all the years I lived with my grandparents, I don't think Pappy ever made his Arroz con Pollo the same way twice.  Sometimes he'd use chicken thighs, sometimes he'd use drumsticks, and sometimes he'd use a whole, cut-up chicken.  Sometimes he'd make it soupy.  Sometimes he'd make it in his trusty crockpot.  And sometimes he'd even make it with enchilada sauce.  The only constant with Pappy's Arroz con Pollo was that it was always delicious.

But my favorite memory of Arroz con Pollo is from back when Hubby and I were dating and only saw each other on Sundays.  After church, we'd drop my grandparents off at home, then head out for our weekly lunch date.  One of our favorite stops was the El Pollo Loco drive-thru, because we only had a few short hours to spend together, and we didn't want to spend those precious hours in a noisy, crowded restaurant.  Once our order was ready, we'd head to one of the local parks for a romantic picnic under the biggest tree we could find, where we'd eat our Pollo Bowls and stare into each other's eyes for hours.  (Sigh!)   Que romanticos!  I remember those Sundays like it was yesterday, even though it all happened some 19 years ago.  

As expected, Rick's recipe for Arroz con Pollo did not disappoint.  I did make a few changes, like adding tomatoes and cumin to the mix.  But what really helped bring it all together was topping it off with a little Pico de Gallo. The important thing to remember whenever making any Mexican rice dish is not to stir after adding the liquid, doing so hace que el arroz se bate which simply means it results in a soupy mess and that is not what we want.The kiddies loved it, and I'm pretty sure Hubby too was reminded of our Sunday picnics all those years ago, because as soon as he took the first bite of his Arroz con Pollo, he looked up at me from across the table and said, "You know, we really should go on a picnic soon."   

Total success, if you ask me.   

Arroz con Pollo y Frijoles
(Recipe adapted from Everyday Mexican by Rick Bayless)


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-size pieces (1-inch cubes)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons ground chile powder, divided (Rick recommends ancho chile powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarters
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1-3/4 cups of Cooked Beans, drained (You can also use a 15 oz. can of cooked beans) 
  • Pico de Gallo 

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken; season with salt and 1-1/2 tablespoons of ground chile powder.  Cook until all of the chicken is well-browned.   Transfer the chicken to a heat proof-plate; set aside.

Heat an additional 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat in the same skillet the chicken was cooked in.  Saute the rice until golden brown, stirring frequently.  While the rice is browning, puree the onion, tomatoes, and garlic with in 2-1/2 cups of the chicken broth in a blender cup until smooth.

Carefully, pour the puree mixture over the browned rice.  Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of ground chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin.  Season lightly with salt.  Stir gently, just until everything is combined. Do NOT stir after this point! Cover skillet and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let the rice simmer for 10 minutes.

Gently stir in the cooked chicken and beans.  (I used Pinto beans, but Rick recommends using black beans.)  Cover and continue to simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed. If the rice still looks uncooked, add a splash more of water and continue to simmer until fully cooked. (Remember to resist the urge to stir!) Remove from heat. Let set for about 10 minutes before serving.

Top with Pico de Gallo or your favorite salsa and serve with warm flour tortillas.  Enjoy!!! 

*FYI: Arroz con Pollo also makes a great filling for burritos! 


IHCC Theme: Potluck!


  1. Mmmm sounds good and would be good in a burrito like you suggested! :)

  2. Ummmm that looks delicious, can wait to try your recipe, I make Arroz con pollo y fríjoles once, but the recipe I made was different. Here a link to mine, well it was Hunt's Recipe:

  3. Interesting version I grew up eating the Spanish/ CUban one (yellow rice cooked with chicken) usually involved browning the chicken, making a sofrito of onions, bell peppers, garlic, tomato, and using beer or wine or both, stock, saffron or achiote, & a touch of cumin and of course rice, the bone in skin on chicken would simmer 20 minutes or so with the liquid til tender then the rice was added.

    From my mother's side who's Mexican, her arroz con pollo was more similar to yours, she'd make the red rice, and stir fry it with small pieces of chicken meat/ breast :)

  4. Yummy. And all the ingredients I can eat!! Thanks for sharing I will have to try.

  5. Ay! Que rico. Oye...never thought of arroz con pollo for burritos. I'm going to have to try that. I try to make arroz con pollo but I think I use to much water/broth 'cause sometimes is apalmazado (don't you love my spanglish?). I'll try out this one and let you know (sin los frijoles ;) Saludos!!
    Helena la de

    1. Hola Helena! I do love your Spanglish! And I know just what you mean. This recipe for Arroz con Pollo wasn't "apalmazado" at all, because the rice was almost fully cooked by the time I added the chicken and beans.

  6. Awesome! I love your memories of Arroz con Pollo - and I love that Lucy clip (I could watch her for hours). Would LOOOOOVE a bowl full =)

  7. Awww, that's one of my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episodes! Your recipe looks de-lish. And thanks so much for sharing your sweet memories about the dish. Really touching! Buen provecho...

  8. OMG this looooks delish! thanks so muych for the recipe and the memories! xo, Lisann

  9. This looks so amazing. The colors really pop. Since we have everything to make this on hand, I think I'll make it tonight, though I will probably use drumsticks. And that I Love Lucy clip is one of my all time favorites.

  10. This looks and sounds so yummy like when I went home with my bf from high school to the Zamora household. Sounds like what Momma Z would cook with homemade salsa and slices of bread...never will forget the first time I ate a huge scoop of her salsa and downed a glass of water while the family laughed and laughed. I will for sure be cooking this one with in the week.

  11. Delicious! Loved the story. I may watch a few more Lucy clips after that. Hilarious!

  12. Nunca he probado el arroz con pollo de ésta manera pero bueno, me intriga. ¡Se ve delicioso!

    1. Hola Heidi! Gracias por venir a visitarme! :) A mi me gusto mucho esta receta de arroz con pollo, porque me hizo recordar la comida Mexicana al estilo Gringo, que extraño de vez en cuando. :)

  13. Looks so delicious Leslie. Arroz con pollo is one of the staple foods in our family. Definitely adding this recipe to my list. Bookmarked!

  14. Wonderful memories! And such a delicious dish - I love your authentic cooking vessel too - beautiful!

  15. mmm que rico Leslie !! que tentadorrrrrrrr......

  16. First of all, I loved reading your memories! And secondly, this looks so, so, good. Your pictures are gorgeous and I'm absolutely craving this now!

  17. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of this dish. Looks absolutely delicious.

  18. Leslie, I didn't know that I Love Lucy clip and laughed so hard. What a wonderful post (as always): your story and writing, the recipe, and how you add your toques de Leslie. I can't wait to try it when my papis come to visit!

  19. Such beautiful photos and a fun post--I had forgotten about that I Love Lucy episode. Great potluck pick! ;-)

  20. What a cute video of I Love Lucy! Sometimes I feel like that when I am trying to speak in Spanish. Hahaha!

  21. FINALLY! I have been looking for a good Arroz con Pollo recipe F-O-R-E-V-E-R! THANKS!

  22. thank you so much for all the great recipes! I made the banana cake today and everyone loved it! finally! i was struggling to make the simplest bread. I should never have gone anywhere else for a recipe. im gonna make this Arroz con pollo for my in-laws for lunch tomorrow. Im sure its gonna turn out great!

    Huge Fan



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