Arroz con Pollo is a traditional Cuban dish that is delicious and simple to prepare. It’s yellow rice cooked with chicken, chicken broth and some veggies for good measure. But I’m not into eating birds. And if you’re reading this you probably aren’t either. So the big question is how can this delicious and traditional flavor be recreated in a birdless fashion?
To answer this I turn to mushrooms. I use two forms, sliced mushrooms and dehydrated mushrooms. The trick is to cook the sliced mushrooms and the other veggies to generate some liquid, then cook the rice in that liquid. The dehydrated mushrooms are added to provide a meat-like texture and additional flavor, and is cooked with the rice.
Now, the secret ingredient of this dish isn’t the mushroom, it’s the bijol, which is a seasoned spice that gives the dish it’s yellow color and added flavor. You can find it in most Latin American aisles, store, or online here.
Calculate slightly less than 1 hr for this to be finished. This includes prep and cooking time.
- 8 oz. mushroom chopped
- 1 cup rice
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup dehydrated mushroom
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 6 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon bijol
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 21/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat olive oil for 30 seconds, then add the onion, garlic, red pepper and cook for about 3 minutes until onions are clear, then add mush rooms and a dash of salt. Cover, and lower heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened and generated some liquid.
- Wash rice
- Check on vegetables, if it has enough liquid, pour in rice, salt, bijol, and dehydrated mushrooms. If, however, liquid is low, add about 1/4 cup of water to generate a quick mushroom broth, cover, and cook for about 2-3 more minutes then add rice, salt, bijol, and dehydrated mushrooms.
- Mix well, then add the remaining water and raise heat to medium and cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until rice is soft. When rice is soft, cover and cook on low for about 5 minutes.
This can be served with a side of plantains.
And if you’d like to listen to a little Cuban music and dance around your kitchen as you’re preparing this, here’s a playlist that’ll do just the trick.