Rice is a staple side dish to any Puerto Rican household. Now add some chicken and sausage and you got yourself a party. Entrees not required.
This is a jack of all trades type of dish – add or delete seasonings, protein or vegetables (namely beans). But in the end make it how you want it. Thanks to our good friend Digna, we have this wonderful recipe to share and inspire us.
I don’t know if you heard the saying “Rice is Life.” But in the Filipino and Puerto Rican culture, this is true. Since this is a Puerto Rican dish, it’s important to choose the right type of rice. The recipe calls for medium grain rice. You can certainly change it to brown rice but know that you may need more water and the texture and taste will be different. Then if you choose to use a short grain or sushi type of rice then the outcome will be more sticky or in Digna’s words “soggy.”
WASHING and RINSING the rice also plays a huge role. Not rinsing and repeating means the starch coating the rice congeals and makes the rice stick together; ie clumpy rice. It’s not what we’re going for here, though you can keep it in mind for other recipes that require a stickier, softer rice texture (looking at you musubi and sushi).
This is a biggie. Now you can use whatever seasoning you have on hand, but a Puerto Rican knows to use good Adobo and Sazon. The sofrito debate is also ongoing, but these are seasonings that can usually be found at the local supermarket. Digna has her own sofrito that she makes, and we will be sharing it with you in a separate post. Trust me it’s delicious and you’ll want to try it. For now, the local grocers Sofrito will have to suffice.
The recipe also calls for broth to add more flavor. Here you can also change it up from the beef broth we used. There’s good ol’ water, chicken or even vegetable broth.
Rice to Water Ratio
First, since this is stove top rice cooking, make sure you use the correct pot. The best is a heavy bottomed pot, made to evenly distribute the heat. Also don’t use a large pot with a small amount of rice and vice versa. If using a large amount of rice, allow at least 2-3 inches of space from the water level to the edge of the pot (because boiling water). With that being said I know of a few ways to figure out if you have the correct water to rice ratio.
One way is the 1:1 ratio. One cup of rice means you must add 1 cup of water. 2 cups of rice = 2 cups of water and so on and so forth. (However, there’s a caveat. Heat plays a factor here and sometimes you may boil off the water faster than the time it takes the water to fully cook the rice. So if the water is all but gone and you try the rice and it’s still crunchy, it’s time to lower the heat and add a bit more water. About 1/2 a cup of water at a time, and stir to incorporate).
The Filipino way calls for you sticking your middle finger into the pot. Once your finger touches the rice, the water level must reach the first line on your finger. (CAUTION: I don’t suggest this if your water is hot/boiling.) You can technically measure approximately where your finger line is on a spoon and then use the spoon to measure the depth.
Another way passed down from Grandma to my hubby, is to do the 1:1 ratio, then stick your wooden spoon in the center of your rice until it touches the bottom of the pot. If the spoon falls you added too little water. If the spoon stands up straight then you are good to go.
Arroz con Pollo (and Sausages) - Rice with Chicken and Sausages
- 1 Pot with lid
- 1 Wooden spoon Or other stirring utensil
- 3 Lb Medium Grain Rice About 7.5 cups of rice
- 1 Lb Chicken breast Cut into 1” cubes
- 1 Package Hillshire farms Beef Sausage Cut into 1” slices
- 5.5 Cups Water More if needed
- 2 Cups Beef Broth
- 4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 3 Packets Sazon
- 2 Tbsp Chicken Bouillon Powder
- 3 Tbsp Adobo Seasoning
- 1 8oz Can Tomato Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Sofrito
- Wash rice and set aside
- Season cubed chicken with 1 packet Sazon and 1 Tbsp adobo seasoning. Mix well and set aside.
- Preheat pot on medium high heat. Add 4 Tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Once the oil has a nice sheen and moves like water, add your chicken and sausages. Stir occasionally until chicken is opaque.
- Add the rest of the seasonings (adobo, chicken bouillon, and Sazon), sofrito, and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and leave to cook for about a minute. The color will turn into a deep red.
- Add your prewashed rice, broth and water. Mix well.
- IMPORTANT: After that initial stirring of the rice with the meat and seasonings, leave the rice undisturbed. The water will continue to evaporate and cook the rice. Check after about 10 minutes to see where the water level is.
- Then keep checking every few minutes. Once most of the water has evaporate, give the rice a few quick turns with your spoon (don’t disturb the bottom portion of the rice).
- At this time, lower heat to medium low. Cover your pot. TIP: If the lid isn’t snug, use a large piece of aluminum foil and then add your pot lid. Let simmer for about 35 minutes.
- The rice is done once it’s tender and there is minimal liquid left. If the rice is still “crunchy” add 1/2 cup more water, stir and continue cooking with lid on at medium low heat for 5-10 more minutes until that extra water has evaporated.
- Once done, fluff up the rice with a few stirs and it’s ready! If you have other things to cook you can cover the rice again and turn down the heat to low. This will maintain the rice’s warmth until you are ready to serve.