Arroz con pollo is a classic dish throughout Latin America. This version is specific to Peruvian cuisine.
Arroz con Pollo was one of the first dishes my mom taught me to cook. I remember her cooking for me and my friends to celebrate the end of the school year back when I was going to business school in Lima. My friends loved it and I remember asking my mom to add beer to the dish (this was a tip given to me by Sebastiana, a dear friend of my grandmother. My dad was her daughter’s godfather). It gives the dish a different – and delicious – twist.
Different areas of Peru cook Arroz con Pollo in different ways: in the North they add loche (a type of yellow squash) and either dark beer or chicha de jora (corn beer), while in Lima, it can be cooked verde (green, with extra cilantro) or amarillo (yellow with extra annatto powder). This recipe is in the creole or criollo style, typical of Lima, which calls for lager beer, as opposed to dark or corn beer.
This Peruvian favorite is great for large parties as well as family dinner. Arroz con Pollo is a staple of Latin American cuisine, and it can also be made with duck for Arroz con Pato.
Season the chicken pieces with 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper, then set aside on a platter.
In a medium pot, add ½ cup canola oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add the chicken and sear, turning occasionally, until golden; about 5 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot and place on a platter or in a bowl. Add the remaining two tablespoons of canola oil to the pot, and sauté the chopped onions over medium heat until translucent; about 5 minutes. Add the garlic paste, cumin, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper, annatto powder and fresh cilantro puree. Combine all ingredients until well mixed.
Add the 8 cups of chicken stock and the chicken back to the pot, mix with the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes. Once again, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside, then add the rice, mix and let cook for 5 minutes over high heat.
Add the peas, carrots, red pepper and ají amarillo (or jalapeño), cover the pot and cook over medium heat until all liquid is almost absorbed; about 15 minutes. Add the beer and continue cooking until liquid is fully absorbed, approximately 5 more minutes.
Once the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice fully cooked, season the rice with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Place the chicken back in the pot and add chopped cilantro for decoration and extra flavor before serving. Enjoy!
I add the beer at the end (a tip from my mom) so that the rice can cook evenly and have the freshest taste of the lager.