Instant Pot Nicaraguan Arroz Con Pollo is a one pot dish that is flavorful, delicious and reheats well. Arroz Con Pollo is a popular Spanish and Latin American dish that literally means rice and chicken. There are many versions of Arroz Con Pollo. Some include saffron, oregano, cumin and beer. Arroz Con Pollo has similarities to paella and jambalaya, so if you like either of these, you will enjoy this version of chicken and rice.
I’ve had a fascination with Nicaraguan food after meeting a cancer patient last fall who was from Nicaragua. I even made Nacatamales, a Nicaraguan version of tamales, not an easy task, but well worth the effort. I adapted this recipe for Nicaraguan Arroz Con Pollo so it could be made using the pressure cooking method in an Instant Pot or stove-top pressure cooker. Nicaraguan Arroz Con Pollo is sometimes also called Arroz a La Valenciana, referencing its Spanish origin.
This version of Arroz Con Pollo is flavored simply with onion, garlic and tomato (in the form of tomato paste and ketchup). I thought the use of ketchup was a bit odd, but for purposes of seeing what the final dish would taste like, I included it. The tomato products are used for flavor as well as to color the rice.
I used my Instant Pot shredded poached chicken for this arroz con pollo (using the broth to cook the rice). However, you could shortcut this step by using store-bought rotisserie chicken if you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand.
Green olives and capers seem to be a common ingredient in Nicaraguan recipes from what I’ve come across. They add some brininess and salt to the dish. Peas add a pop of color.
I made this Instant Pot Nicaraguan Arroz Con Pollo for someone in our community who just had their first baby. I’d never met this young couple, but was included in a meal sign-up email. I have to admit initially I hesitated about cooking for them since I didn’t even know who they were. But, after giving it some thought, I realized my thinking was completely wrong. God calls us to love one another – it doesn’t matter whether or not we know someone – in fact, we are called to act, to reach out and help people in need.
“16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18
Instant Pot Nicaraguan Arroz Con Pollo
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots finely chopped (~ 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 ounces turkey kielbasa cut into 1/4" slices
- 4 ounces ham chopped (~ 3/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cooked, shredded
- 1/3 cup piquillo peppers chopped (~ 3 peppers)
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup green olives stuffed with pimento cut in half
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- 1 cup frozen peas
Place peas in a small bowl and let sit out to start defrosting.
Select "Saute" on Instant Pot. Add oil and saute onion, carrots and garlic for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add kielbasa and ham and saute another 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
Add tomato paste and ketchup; saute for a minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Add reserved shredded chicken and piquillo peppers. Toss to coat with sauce. Add 1 cup reserved chicken broth. Season to taste with salt, if desired.
Select "Cancel," then seal Instant Pot and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure. Natural release 10 minutes; then quick release. Add olives, capers and peas. Toss well, then seal Instant Pot. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Serious Eats.