Arroz Con Pollo Recipe – Tucson Sonoran Style

This Tucson Sonoran style Arroz con Pollo recipe is made with salsa de chile fresco for medium spicy kick of heat.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
When I asked locals which Tucson centric recipes they would most like to see included in my cookbook quite a few people mentioned arroz con pollo and I’ve always found chicken and rice to be a comforting combo. This is a great make ahead recipe for workday lunches. At first glance  salsa de chile fresco may look like pureed tomato sauce but it’s got a medium spicy kick of heat that will convince you otherwise.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups diced white onion
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup spicy red wine such as Malbec
  • 4 cups chicken broth divided
  • 1 tsp granulated chicken-flavored bouillon preferably Knorr brand
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 8-oz can Salsa de Chile Fresco preferably El Pato brand
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots
  • 1 tablespoon red chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese plus more for serving
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken thighs and onion and cook until the chicken is browned, about 4 minutes on each side. The onion will soften.
  • Remove the chicken, leaving the onion in the pan, and set aside. Add the rice and remaining 1 tabespoon of butter, then sauté until the rice is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add 2 cups of the broth, the chicken-flavored bouillon, and the garlic. Simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the salsa, vinegar, peas and carrots, chile powder, oregano, cayenne, and the remaining 2 cups broth. Stir, then return the browned chicken to the pot with its juices. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Stir in the Cotija cheese. Season to taste with the salt and black pepper. Spoon the rice over the chicken pieces and serve in wide shallow bowls sprinkled with additional cheese.


This recipe is an excerpt from Taste of Tucson: Sonoran Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona, By Jackie Alpers - West Margin Press 2020.
Course chicken, dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Sonoran Style Mexican
Keyword arroz con pollo recipe, comfort food recipe, Mexican chicken and rice recipe, One pot arroz con pollo recipe, One pot chicken and rice recipe

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