“Locrio de Pollo” (also known as “Arroz con Pollo”) is another very common dish that we make constantly! The chicken is cooked similar to how stewed chicken (pollo guisado) is made, therefore, it develops so much delicious flavor that is infused into the rice.
It’s one of those meals I love to make because you only need one pot to keep an eye on.
To make this dish, you will need the following ingredients:
4 – 5 lbs Chicken
4 Cups Long Grain Rice
6 Cups Fresh Water
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Celery Stalk
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
2 Habanero Chiles (Aji Gustoso), optional
2 tbsp Spanish Olives
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp Sugar
2 – 3 tsp Salt
1/2 – 1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Oregano
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp Vinegar (for marinade)
1/2 Cup Vinegar (to rinse chicken)
I prefer to use a whole chicken to make this dish because it offers a variety of different parts to serve with the rice. You can always just use the pieces you prefer, just make sure to remove the skin (unless it’s chicken wings). Plus, I like the trinkets (heart, liver, neck and gizzard) that come with it.
Take the chicken, add about 1/2 cup vinegar and some water, let it soak for a couple of minutes,
After letting the chicken soak, rinse it with plenty of fresh water then drain it,
I recommend you season the chicken the day before so it absorbs more flavor. But if you season to cook the same day, let it marinate for atleast an hour.
Transfer the clean chicken to a container to marinate. I am fond of using ziploc bags because they take up less space in the refrigerator and they are also easy to wash and reuse.
Add 1 tsp of salt,
Then add about 1/2 tsp black pepper,
Then add the oregano,
Although Worcestershire sauce is not a common ingredient in Dominican food, I love using it because it’s very flavorful and enhances the seasoning for the chicken.Shake the bottle well then add a couple of tablespoons to the chicken,
I usually cut the bell peppers into large pieces, but you can finely chop them if you prefer. Then add them to the chicken,
Finely chop the onion and add it to the chicken as well,
Cut the celery and add it to the marinade,
Remove the seeds and finely chop the habanero chiles (aji gustoso) and add to the marinade. Make sure to use green habanero chiles and not red ones, unless you want your dish to be very HOT!
Chop (or mash) the garlic and add it to the chicken,
Chop the cilantro and add it to the marinade,
Add the juice of the limes to the marinade,
And last but not least, add the Spanish olives. I usually add them whole, but you can chop them if you prefer.
Once all of the ingredients for the marinade have been added, seal the bag and mix well to incorporate all of the ingredients. If you are using a different type of container just mix with a spoon thoroughly and cover.
Let it marinate for a few hours, overnight for better flavor.
Now comes the fun part… COOKING time!!
If possible, take the chicken out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking time to help take the chill off. The less cold the meat is, the faster it sears. But you don’t have to do this if you don’t have time.
I am partial to making my rice in a caldero (which is a heavy duty aluminum pot), but you can use the cookware of your preference. Add vegetable oil and 2 tbsp of sugar (you may use brown sugar if you prefer it over white sugar), put the heat on high temperature,
Keep an eye on it, the sugar will start to melt and caramelize.
While the sugar is caramelizing, take the chicken and separate it from the marinade liquid (it will make it easier to add to the pot when the sugar is ready). DO NOT discard the marinade liquid.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the sugar, as it melts, you will see how it starts to get darker,
As it gets darker, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn and turn bitter. You want it to turn dark brown, you know it’s ready when it starts to smoke, when this happens, WORK QUICKLY.
Add the chicken (except the liver) to the pot (start adding it over the caramelized sugar) and it will start making a LOUD sizzling noise. This is normal, don’t stir or flip the chicken, just let it sear,
Set the liver aside and add it later on. If you add it to the pot when you start of the cooking process, it can break apart and dissolve into the dish.
As the chicken cooks in the pot, it will start to “sweat” its juices,
Let it cook for about 10 minutes, then flip the chicken,
Once all the chicken is flipped, keep an eye on it and let it cook in its juices until it reduces down,
Gently stir the chicken every now and then so that it doesn’t stick to the pot,
When all of the liquid evaporates (about 30 – 45 minutes after adding the chicken), keep an eye on the chicken so that it doesn’t burn. Let it “fry” in the oil so that the chicken develops more flavor and color (the deep golden brown color equals delicious flavor ),
Let it cook in the oil for a few minutes (5 minutes is good), careful to not let it burn, then add the marinade,
Gently stir the chicken with the marinade,Lightly cover the pot and let it cook for about 10 minutes,
After about 10 minutes, the chicken will be thoroughly cooked and bubbling in the liquid,
Now, take all of the chicken (except the neck, heart and gizzard) pieces out of the pot and set them aside for later.
My mom taught me this method because she says that way the chicken will stay juicy and not fall apart. Often times with locrio de pollo, the chicken falls apart and get dry in the rice because of the constant stirring.
When you set the chicken aside, cover it so that it stays warm until we are ready to use it again.
Now add the liver to the pot,
Let the liver cook for about 5 minutes, then add 6 cups of water,
Stir well to ensure you scrape all of the caramelized chicken drippings from the bottom of the pot,
Add some salt, about 1 to 2 tsp,
Then add a little more black pepper (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp),
Add about 1 tbsp of vinegar,
Let the water in the pot come up to a boil, in the meantime, measure out 4 cups of rice and rinse it,
Washing the rice removes some of that “chalky” flavor that you can sometimes get from long grain rice that comes in a large bag and enhances the flavor.
When you first start the wash the rice, the water will be very cloudy, but after rinsing it a couple of times, the water will get clearer. I usually rinse the rice about 3 – 4 times, until the water is translucent,
When the water in the pot is boiling and the rice is cleaned and drained, add the rice to the pot,
After adding the rice, stir it well,
Let the rice cook and absorb the water, stirring occasionally. As it cooks, it will absorb the water and start to get thick,
One way to check if the rice is ready to be covered after it’s absorbed most of the water, is by running a spoon from one of the edges towards the middle of the pot and opening a “path”. When you do this and the rice stays put and doesn’t run into the “path”, then it’s ready to be covered,
Pile the rice in the center of the pot,
Most Dominicans like to cover their rice with a plastic bag before covering it with the lid that belongs to the pot so that the rice cooks thoroughly. I don’t like to use a plastic bag because sometimes it can melt on the sides and ingesting melted plastic can be toxic. For that reason I prefer to use aluminum foil instead.
This is just a method that I grew up using, but really you don’t have to do this, covering the pot with the lid will cook the rice just fine! I just follow in my mother’s teachings…
Put the lid on the pot and cover, then lower the heat to medium temperature. If you have a gas stove that is very potent, lower the heat to medium – low. My gas burner is not very potent, therefore, I usually have to leave it on medium to ensure it cooks thoroughly. Let it cook covered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the rice should be cooked and ready to be fluffed up,
Stir it with a spoon to fluff it up and bring the rice that is on the bottom to the top.
Now take the chicken that we had set aside and nest it over the rice, then cover it and put the temperature on low and let it hang out for 5 – 10 minutes before serving so that the chicken heats through.
And Terminamos! (We finish!) Just remember, when serving your rice with chicken, be gentle if you stir the pot so the chicken doesn’t fall apart.
I recommend to serve with a side salad or a couple of slices of fresh avocado, YUM!