Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo, with flavorful spices and smoky chipotle, is a delicious dinner that simmers and cooks while you do other things!
Oh the beauty of a slow cooker. A machine designed for a simple purpose–to cook food slowly enough that you can walk away, and come back to a nice meal. When done correctly, these stewed dinners can be comforting, sustaining and down right delicious.
As far as chicken and rice, I think the great country of Mexico got it right! The meat is seasoned with spices, nestled and simmered in rice with chicken broth and enhanced with some smoky chilies. I wanted to enjoy this meal, without having to tend it. You have to cook it just right so the chicken is cooked through, and the rice is done, all at the same time. So what’s my trick for doing it in the slow cooker? Would the rice just be a soggy mess?
No one will ever guess, you didn’t just slave away over this savory and flavorful slow cooker arroz con pollo.
After a few throws through trial and error I came to a surprising solution. A surprise for me because I NEVER use this ingredient. Before I tell you, I’ll sing the praises of slow cookers a bit more. Working in test kitchens for over 15 years, I’ve used many different slow cookers. I’ve liked the fancy ones with bells and whistles, and I’ve liked the simplest versions.
Well I didn’t have to do all the testing on this one. Cook’s Illustrated did this for all of us and named this KitchenAid and this Cuisinart the best versions of our favorite little machine. And now on to the secret…
Well the secret here is instant rice. For me I’ve always stayed away from instant rice because it always comes out water logged and flavorless. But when i tried it here, it worked. This is because I loaded the dish with extra flavor, browned the chicken for good caramelization, and added the rice just at the end of slow cooking so it became just the right texture.
Serve this with some fresh cherry tomatoes and cilantro. And for me, I like a generous squeeze of lime.
- 6 small skinless bone-in chicken breast halves about 4 lbs
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 can 14 oz diced tomatoes
- 1 small onion cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 chipotle chile from canned chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1 can 14.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups instant rice
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime weges for serving
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of spice mixture over chicken and rub in with fingers, set remaining aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Place canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle and remaining spice mixture in a blender. Cover and blend until almost smooth; pour over chicken. Add broth.
Cover and cook, 4 to 5 hours on low or 2 to 2½ hours on high. Gently stir in rice, cover and cook on high, stirring once, 30 minutes. Turn cooker off, stir in peas, cover and let stand 15 minutes.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss with cilantro; serve over chicken and rice with lime wedges on the side.
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Recipe & Food Styling Tara Bench. Photography by Steve Giralt. Prop Styling Gerri Williams.
Originally published 02/2016 in Ladies’ Home Journal.