Monday Musings – Arroz con Pollo

So we’ve finally exited the time warp that is the holidays.  You know.. the holiday time warp that begins when you are sucked in sometime around Thanksgiving.  Everything speeds up with parties, shopping, wrapping, visiting, eating, drinking.. you get spit out the first week of January, somersaulting your way through another week and landing with your feet on the ground mid -January.

January for us is quite busy, with a series of events in January, February and March. When I have a busy week ahead I like to rely on whipping up a family favorite on Sundays that will tide us over for Sunday and Monday dinner, and likely lunch on Tuesday. Eliminating cooking on Monday is always a good idea!

So today I’m going to share one of our Costa Rica favorites, Arroz con Pollo.  This recipe comes from when I first moved to Costa Rica.  My brother & sister-in-law’s housekeeper, Hortencia, taught me how to make this within a month or two of my arrival.  Now, at that point I spoke no Spanish.  And she spoke no English. So this recipe was jotted down as a mix of visual observation, charades, and plain old guesswork. But it’s the one I’ve always used.

The first time I made this without Hortencia I used like 6 pots but I promise you develop a system the second time you make it. Enjoy! 🙂



6 chicken breasts

couple cloves of Garlic

Bunch of Celery*

1 green or red pepper

1 carrot*

1 tomato

½ bag green beans*

3 cups or so of rice (to 6 chicken breasts)



packet of Chicken consommé (you could probably just use chicken stock instead of water, and leave this out)

Achiote paste (small white round container w/ red writing, size 1” high 2” round, look in your international aisle)

Lizano salsa (brown sauce with white, red & green label, look in your international aisle)


* I usually add more veggies than recipe calls for.

  1. Put chicken in a pot & fill pot with water to just above the chicken. Add a couple cloves of pressed garlic, some celery, some pepper slices, bit of salt & ½ packet chicken consume. Boil 20 minutes or so.
  1. While chicken is cooking, dice: 1 pepper, garlic, 1 carrot, celery (use ends of celery stalks so lots of leaves), and green beans.
  1. Preheat a pot to very hot and put a decent amount of oil in and only a handful or so of the veggie mix you just cut. Sauté and pour in rice (3 cups or so) keep stirring, add some salt.
  1. Take chicken pot in Step 1, set the chicken aside, strain & discard the veggies, and pour the water only from the chicken pot into the rice pot. Add some extra water (little less than 1 cup). At this point the rice pot will have a soupy look to it. Cover & leave.
  1. Tear up the chicken (easier to do if you tear it under running cold water, helps you avoid burning your fingers).
  1. Dice 1 tomato
  1. Rinse your chicken pot out and preheat again. Add oil and 1/3 stick of butter. Put in the rest of the veggie mix you cut up in Step 2 & stir. Then add tomato & stir, add the chicken & stir, add 1 large Tbsp of Achiote & stir, about ½ cup water or more, add some more consome (but don’t finish the packet, you don’t really need a whole packet for this recipe so you will likely have some leftover).
  1. Check the rice. If it’s done, stir it up and add 1/3 cup water. Remove from heat.
  1. Add some pepper & the salsa to the pan from Step 7. Cover & leave for 5-10 minutes to cook the carrots and green beans.
  1. After you think the carrots & beans are cooked, add the rice mixture to the pan.
  1. You can add corn from a can to the mixture at this point if you want. I like corn being added, my husband likes to skip that step, so it’s up to you.
  1. Add some Lizano sauce on top before eating. This stuff is delicious. Dig in.

 Lizano Sauce

7 thoughts on “Monday Musings – Arroz con Pollo”

  1. Love your recipe for Arroz con Pollo. My husband was born and raised in Perez Zeledon and immigrated to the USA 17 years ago. He does not like chicken but loves this. His kids eat it like it’s going out of style. I am however as Italian and Irish as they come. So thank you for such a great recipe and in English so I don’t have to try and figure out the translation.

  2. Went to Costa Rica on vacation for the first time! Loved the country and the people! We ordered the arroz con pollo at this hotel and we loved it! So I’m looking into make some. Saw your receipt, and it looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it! Oh they served it with patacones (fried green plantains) which I love, and I grew up eating those ! My parents are Cubans, so some of the dishes are very similar!


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