Peurto Rican Rice and Chicken Stew

Dinner last night was one of my favorite dishes. The Peurto Rican Rice and Chicken Stew is very similar to the arroz con pollo that is ubiquitious throughout Spanish-speaking countries, except that this version remains soupy, and is usually eaten with both a fork and a spoon. To make a drier version, cut the liquid by about 1/3 and leave the chicken pieces whole.

It was a quiet evening with just the three of us, Mom, Dennis and I, but I still wanted to prepare something delicious for dinner without spending all day in the kitchen.

I got this week’s recipe from James McNair’s Rice Cookbook (ISBN 0-87701-519-8). Everything in this book is about rice, different kinds of rice, how to prepare it, how they make different types of rice products, and then 91 pages of recipes. Who knew there was so much to know about rice? How to cook perfect rice, rice puddings from Mexico, India and America, rice cake, Filipino Rice Squares, Sicilian Black Rice Cake, chilled wine custard…the list goes on. I made a few modifications to the recipe in this book but in general I followed the instructions.

Peurto Rican Rice and Chicken Stew

Peurto Rican Rice and Chicken Stew


  • 2 tsp. minced or pressed garlic
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano crumbled
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 6 boned chicken thighs or breast halved – skinned if desired.
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil or as needed
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped green sweet pepper
  • 4 oz. flavorful baked ham – chopped
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped ripe or canned tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • ½ cup freshly grated dry cheese such as Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 cup cooked shelled fresh green peas or thawed frozen petite green peas
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives
  • 1 Tbsp. drained small capers


  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, and black and cayenne peppers.  Rub the spice mixture into the chicken pieces and let stand, covered, at room temperature, for  1 hour.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron dutch oven or other heavy casserole over medium high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and saute until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.  Remove the chicken and reserve.
  3. If necessary, add oil to that remaining in the pan to total 2 tablespoons.  Add the onion and sweet green pepper and saute until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the ham and tomatoes and saute about 5 minutes longer.
  4. Return the chicken to the casserole, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.  Transfer the chicken pieces to a cutting surface: When cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces; reserve.
  5. Rinse and drain the rice.
  6. Increase the heat under the pan with the vegetabels in it, to medium high.  Add the drained rice and saute until all grains are well coated, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cover tightly.  Simmer until the rice is tender but still soupy, about 45 minutes.  Add more broth if the pot isn’t soupy enough.  Stir in the cheese, peas, olives, capers and the reserved chopped chicken.  Cover and simmer just until the cheese melts and the other additions are heated through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Scoop into individual bowls and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Peurto Rican Rice and Chicken Stew with Tuscan Kale Salad

I served this with my new favorite salad, Tuscan Kale salad with pine nuts. Dessert was a slice of banana bread from a gluten-free recipe my friend shared with me. It was made with almond flour so you can imagine how rich and moist it was – and yes delicious!

Now that I have your attention, I have to tell you about my experience with making another gluten-free bread this week.   I have made several different types of breads – with gluten and without, but this one has got me stumped.   I have tried making this recipe three times and they have all been a flop so I don’t think its anything I am doing but rather it’s the recipe.

This recipe came from a site I use quite often called Living Without. ( The focus of the site and the magazine is advice and information for people with allergies and food sensitivities.  There are some great editorials, recipes and stories for people who suffer with intollerances or allergies.   This recipe sounded so delicious I had to try it and because it flopped the first time, I assumed I did something wrong and needed to give it another try.  However, after three flops, I’m not going to try it again.  If anyone else has tried this recipe or would like to try it and let me know how it goes, I’m all ears.

Here’s a photo of my results:

olive and rosemary gf bread from the sideolive and rosemary gf bread after one slice

Just out of the oven – looks great!                 After one slice!

I am always looking for fabulous gluten-free recipes.  If anyone has any they’d like to share, I’d love to see them.

Until next time, have a wonderful week and come back on Monday to see what we had for Sunday Night Dinner at Julia’s Place.


About Julia

I am an RHN who's passionate about helping people live their best lives. My focus is on body mind and spirit and I guide people on work life balance and holistic nutrition. Join me as I wind my way through this wonderful world we live in.
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