Sauté

Peruvian Arroz Con Pollo From Chef Claudia Berroa

March  5, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

Claudia Berroa grew up watching her grandmother cook in Lima, Peru, but only really started cooking on her own once she and husband Rich married. When she immigrated to the United States 20 years ago, she stayed connected to her family by calling frequently to discuss food and family recipes.

“I didn’t know I could cook until I really started doing it, and that led to hosting parties for friends and family. Our small apartment would hold about 80 people, and it was a wonderful way to bring people together,” she says.

Claudia’s grandmother’s recipes would be what started her ventures as a chef. She began by selling homemade flan at New York City street fairs, then sold to local markets like Zabar’s and Union Market. This led to Claudia and Rich opening their own restaurant, Claudy’s Kitchen, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Rich, a paramedic, helps manage the business while Claudia has expanded the menu to include a broad selection of the home cooking she grew up with: ceviche, empanadas, roast chicken, and tamales.

One item on their menu, reserved for special occasions, is arroz con pollo. Many families have their own recipes for this homestyle chicken and rice dish, and Claudia makes hers distinctive with plenty of cilantro and dark beer (the darker, the better). "There are countless variations, but Peruvian arroz con pollo specifically features a lot of green color from the herbs and vegetables.”

“There’s such a wide range of Peruvian cuisine, as it’s a country of several terrains and cultures," adds Rich. "There’s a difference in the food from the cities by the mountains, and those by the ocean with Indigenous, Asian, and European styles of food. We hope we’ll get to showcase all of them.” —Caroline Choe

Test Kitchen Notes

You can find ají panca, ají amarillo, and Peruvian corn (also known as maiz cancha) at online specialty markets. The corn is worth seeking out, and infuses wonderful, complex nutty corn flavor into the whole dish. —The Editors

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6 to 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ají panca (red chile paste)
  • 1 tablespoon ají amarillo (yellow chile paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup dark beer (the darker, the better)
  • 3 cups jasmine rice, rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup Peruvian corn (optional)
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Blend the cilantro with just enough water to form a paste.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté until the chicken is golden-brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
  3. In the same pan over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, ají panca, ají amarillo, cumin, and turmeric for about 3 minutes in the remaining oil.
  4. Add the cilantro paste and 1/2 cup of the beer and mix well. Let everything cook together for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
  5. Add the chicken and season with more salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked to 165°F. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  6. Add the rice to the same pan along with the chicken stock (or water), peas, carrots, corn (if using), and the remaining beer.
  7. Mix the ingredients well, so the rice is covered. Bring to a boil over high heat without the lid. As soon as it starts to boil, add the bell pepper, cover the pan, and let the rice cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until done.
  8. Stir with a fork, add the cooked chicken back in, and cover again until ready to serve.

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1 Review

luvcookbooks March 8, 2021
Hi, I am lucky enough to live in the neighborhood and get Claudy’s food to take out but I also love having this recipe!