Nicaraguan Arroz con Pollo Recipe



  • This recipe can be cut in half.
  • Chicken may be poached 2 days in advance. To store, place chicken and 3 cups strained broth in airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Rice may be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • For a quicker version of this recipe: Rather than cooking the diced carrots with the rice, substitute them and the frozen peas with 2 1/2 cups of frozen peas-and-carrots. Buy a rotisserie chicken (you'll need about 4 cups shredded chicken) and low-sodium chicken broth instead of poaching your own chicken and making your own broth.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

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For the Chicken

  • 1 whole large chicken (about 4 to 5 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, skin removed

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and quartered

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns

  • 8 cups cold water

  • 1 lime, halved

For the Rice

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice (about 1 cup)

  • 4 cups chicken broth

For the Arroz con Pollo

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 8 ounces smoked sausage (such as Lil’ Smokies) or Kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

  • 1/4 pound sliced deli ham, coarsely chopped

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 3/4 cup drained canned or jarred piquillo peppers, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 6 tablespoons ketchup

  • 3/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced

  • 1/3 cup capers, drained

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas

  • Salt

  • 1 cup (2 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Buttered white toast (optional)


  1. For the chicken: Place chicken, onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and water (chicken should be submerged 2 inches; add more water if necessary). Squeeze lime juice into pot and add spent lime halves to pot.

  2. Bring to boil over medium heat, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through (chicken’s temperature should read 160°F), about 20 minutes.

  3. With tongs, transfer chicken to large bowl. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces, removing and discarding bones. You should have 4 cups shredded chicken.

  4. Strain broth and discard solids. Reserve 4 cups and store the rest for different use.

  5. For the rice: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, onion, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until darkened, about 1 minute.

  6. Stir in rice and carrots and cook, stirring, until rice is completely coated with onion mixture, about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  7. Continue to boil until most of the liquid has evaporated and you can see small bubbles on the surface of the rice. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 20 minutes until rice is done. Remove from heat and fluff rice with chopsticks or fork.

  8. For the arroz con pollo: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet with high sides. Add sausage and ham and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.

  9. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in now empty skillet. Add onion and piquillo peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until darkened, about 1 minute. Add ketchup and chicken and cook, stirring, until chicken is completely coated in mixture.

  10. Stir in rice, then reserved sausage mixture. Stir in olives, capers, and frozen peas. Cook, stirring occasionally to allow flavors to meld, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

  11. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and buttered white toast.

Special equipment

large soup pot or Dutch oven, instant-read thermometer, tongs, strainer, large bowl, large heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid, large skillet with high sides

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
403 Calories
23g Fat
25g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 403
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 1360mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 47mg 236%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 657mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)