Margarita's International Recipes

Costa Rican

Arroz con Pollo

Chicken with Rice

Arroz con pollo is one of the most traditional dishes in Costa Rica and, as you can expect, there are many, many different recipes. The one thing they have in common is the use of achiote, or annatto seeds, in place of the saffron you'd find in Spanish versions of this dish. This is the one thing I skipped, as I couldn't find the seeds at my local grocery stores (and I didn't want to trek to a Latin market) and annatto is used mostly for coloring, not flavoring.

The recipe I made was inspired by a couple of other recipes I found online, though I made my own modifications. I first cooked the chicken and then used the resulting broth to cook the rice. I mixed the two together before serving. The results were surprisingly satisfying. This dish wouldn't win any culinary awards, it was tasty but not delicious, but it was very comforting. If it wasn't for the fact that my youngest daughter just did not like it, I would make it again.

Arroz con Pollo


For the chicken

  • 4 - 5 lbs. chicken parts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, quartered & separated
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, quartered
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • water
  • 4 chicken buillion cubes or equivalent
  • salt

For the rice

  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups rice, washed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped


Place the chicken parts, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, celery rib, cilantro, oregano and bay leaves in a large stock pot. Put enough water to cover the chicken. Add the chicken bouillion and salt to taste. Put stock pot on the stove, bring to a boil, bring down the heat to low and simmer for 50'to 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Using thongs remove the chicken parts into a separate bowl. Strain the remaining broth, discarding the vegetables but reserving the broth. Taste broth for flavor, and add salt if needed.

Heat the oil over medium heat in another large pot. Add the onion and celery and saute until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the rice and saute until transparent. Add 4 cups of the reserved chicken broth. Bring rice to a boil, then turn down the temperature to low and simmer, covered, until the rice is soft 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of rice you used. Keep an eye on the rice to make sure it has enough liquid, adding more broth if necessary.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken discarding the skin and bones. Season with salt as needed.

When the rice is done, add the shredded chicken and the chopped cilantro to the rice. Mix and serve

Adapted from tconstantine's recipe at and others.

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