Cuban Chicken and Rice
Juicy dark meat chicken and rice simmered with bacon, onions, garlic and peppers, served with black beans, peas, and cilantro for a simple, homey one-pot meal that’s packed with the flavors of the Caribbean.
I think chicken and rice dishes need to be their own food group. Most cuisines from around the world include some version of chicken and rice, cooked together in wine or broth, with vegetables, herbs and spices. These dishes are often the kind of simple one-pot comfort food that leaves everyone at the table feeling cared for and content.
This version of chicken and rice incorporates the flavors of Cuban cuisine – black beans and rice, cumin and cilantro, garlic, onions, and peppers – simmering everything together in one pot. Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this chicken and rice dish saves time without sacrificing flavor, and this dish will be on the table in under an hour.
Optional – Serve with Homemade Tortillas
Homemade tortillas will forever ruin you from ever enjoying the standard supermarket variety again. Just warning you now. They are surprisingly easy to make, especially if you have a standing mixer to knead the dough for you. You literally dump all the ingredients into the mixer bowl, let the mixer knead the dough until it’s soft and pliable, divide the dough into balls, roll them out and cook them like pancakes in a skillet.
When my son moved out into his first apartment at the age of 19, he immediately asked for a standing mixer as his next birthday gift just so he could make tortillas. I’m telling you… make them once and you’ll never purchase them again.
This is the homemade tortilla recipe I’ve been using for the past 20 years.
Besides homemade tortilla, do you know what else goes really well with Cuban Chicken and Rice? A tall, refreshing Perfect Cuban Mojito. Cheers!
Meal Plans that Include Cuban Chicken and Rice:
Used in this recipe:Print
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb thick cut bacon (about 6–7 slices), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium or large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 red (or any color) bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like your food)
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups (15 oz) black beans, drained (see note)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the bacon is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Remove all but 2 tbsp of fat from the pan and return the pan to the burner. Turn the burner down to medium heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and rice, and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes longer to toast the rice.
- Pour the broth into the pan and whisk in the tomato paste. Add the bacon back into the pan, then add the chicken thighs, nestling them down into the broth. Turn the burner to high and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the burner down to low, and let simmer until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the beans and frozen peas. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let sit covered for 5 minutes to cook the peas and warm the beans.
- Taste, and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
If you’d like to use cooked dried black beans instead of canned, these slow simmered black beans take about 5-minutes of hands-on time if you cook them in the slow cooker and produces richly flavorful beans.
- Cuisine: Cuban
Keywords: cuban, chicken and rice, one pot meal, dinner recipe, easy recipe