Learn how to make arroz con pollo with tips from this 92-year-old Peruvian mother. Katie Choy shares this recipe from her cookbook.
Recently, a woman named Anita Soluna thought my cookbook would make a nice gift for her Peruvian friend, Martha Ochoa in Los Angeles. To her surprise, Martha encountered a photo of her godparents (my mother-in-law and father-in-law) on page 8. She has been searching for them for 40 years!
Overwhelmed with tears and emotion, Martha spoke at length with my husband about his parents and family, and was then able to speak Consuelo, her godmother, after so many years. Consuelo lives in La Molina with her son and is 92 years old.
Martha told me last night that, as she reads through my cookbook, the recipes take her back to Lince and she can smell and taste the flavors of Consuelo’s kitchen.
Consuelo’s version of arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) is made with her special salsa verde (green sauce) and is an easy, one pot, delicious meal.
Arroz con pollo recipe
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, halved
1 teaspoon paprika
4 cups fresh spinach (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Black pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups water, divided (see Tips for Success)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 assorted pieces of chicken 2 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup frozen or chopped carrots
1/2 cup frozen or chopped corn
1/2 cup frozen or chopped peas
Combine garlic, onion, paprika, spinach, cilantro, 2 tsp. salt, pepper, and 1⁄2 cup water in blender. Blend on high until smooth. Measure the amount and set aside.
Sprinkle chicken pieces with a little salt. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear chicken, 3 pieces at a time, until skin is brown and crispy; be careful of the splattering oil! Remove and set aside. Drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon of grease.
Return pan to medium-high heat, and add contents of blender. Cook 2-3 minutes, scraping brown bits to deglaze pan and incorporate flavors. Add rice and stir well to coat. Add frozen vegetables and 2 cups water (see Tips for Suc- cess), stir. Place chicken pieces on top and pour in any ac- cumulated juices. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cover. Maintain simmer for about 30 minutes, or until water is ab- sorbed, rice is fluffy, and chicken is no longer pink.
Serve immediately on warm plates.
Tips for Success
To get the right amount of water, first check your rice instructions to find out the ratio (I typically use long grain white rice with a 2:1 ratio). Measure the contents of liquid in the blender (it should be around 2 cups), and subtract this amount from the total amount of water needed for the rice. For example: when preparing rice with a 2:1 ratio, I would typically use 4 cups of water to 2 cups of rice; but in this recipe, I subtract the 2 cups of liquid in the blender from the total and only add 13⁄4-2 cups of water to pan. I also take into account that the chicken will be releasing juices.
This arroz con pollo recipe is included in Family Secrets: Experience the Flavors of Peru by Katie Choy. Proceeds from the book benefit the Peruvian American Medical Society, a non-profit agency providing much needed medical care to the underserved of Peru through permanent clinics and medical missions through the country. Family Secrets can be purchased here.
Cover photo: Larepublica.pe
This article has been updated from its original publication on May 18, 2016.
Now that you're here:
We're asking you, our reader, to make a contribution in support of our digital guide in order to keep informing, updating and inspiring people to visit Peru. Why now? In our near 20-year journey as the leading English-language source on travel in Peru, we've had our fair share of ups and downs-but nothing quite like the challenges brought forth in the first quarter of 2020.
By adapting to the changing face of the tourism and travel industry (on both local and international levels), we have no doubt we will come out stronger-especially with the support of our community. Because you will travel again, and we will be ready to show you the best of Peru.
Your financial support means we can keep sharing the best of Peru through high-quality stories, videos and insights provided by our dedicated team of contributors and editors based in Peru. And of course, We are here to answer your questions and help whenever you need us.
As well, it makes possible our commitment to support local and small businesses that make your visit an unforgettable one. Your support will help the people working in these industries get back on their feet once the world allows us to make our dream of enjoying everything Peru has to offer a reality again-from its mouthwatering gastronomy, thriving Amazon and archaeological wonders such as Machu Picchu.
Together, we will find a way through this. As a member of our community, your contribution, however big or small, is valuable.