Arroz Aguado (Nicaraguan Chicken and Rice Stew) Recipe

Latin Cuisine

Regional cuisine from Central and South America.

Arroz Aguado (Nicaraguan Chicken and Rice Stew) Recipe

[Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

Note: When reheating leftovers, add a bit more chicken broth as the rice will continue to absorb liquid as it sits.

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  • Yield:serves 8
  • Active time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour, 15 minutes


  • For the stew:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 whole canned plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick slices, plus 2 tablespoons liquid
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise (about 1 pound total)
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 10 to 12 stems fresh cilantro with leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch-thick pieces crosswise (about 1 cup)
  • For the Assembly
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into1/4 inch cubes
  • Pickled jalapeño chiles, to taste


  1. 1.

    Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes and juice, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until onion is softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Add broth, water, rice, cilantro, and mint. Bring to a boil over high heat, then, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, skimming surface from time to time. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. With tongs, remove chicken and place in bowl. Remove and discard cilantro and mint.

  3. 3.

    Stir potatoes and zucchini into pot and cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, using 2 forks, carefully remove and discard chicken skin and bones. Shred chicken and return to pot. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

  4. 4.

    Serve in bowls and garnish with mint and cilantro. Serve with limes, avocado, and jalapeños.