Did I mention I was scared of the instant pot? It has the pressure cooker feature. It can both scald me with the pressure cooker release. Explode? I don’t know it has pressure, doesn’t it? If I were in a horror movie, I would get electrocuted. How? I don’t know, but that happens. Guess what? I am getting the hang of said pressure cooker. It is really cool. I am recommending it to my friends. And you know what? THEY LISTENED. Win. If I were teaching middle school again I would tell my students *AGGRESSIVELY DAB*, but I won’t. You won’t see me do it. It won’t matter.
Last night, and by last night I mean Sunday night when all of the highways were Highways to hell (or heaven I don’t know thy life) – I did head bang though as I wrote that- I had this CRAZY idea. A sacrilegious thought. Can I do ARROZ CON POLLO. The one my mom made. IN THE INSTANT POT. The answer is YES.
I know. Now if you got past the “cringy meme”, I will tell you all about it. I investigated. By investigated, I mean, I aggressively investigated (so much angry. Why am I angry? Maybe it’s the cold). By aggressively investigated, I mean I wrote on google ” Arroz con pollo in the instant pot” and it gave me A TON of recipes. But non of them actually resembled ANYTHING near what my mom always made. One of them had TOMATO SAUCE. What? En Serio? Seriously? Why? *looks at meme* I thought this was really weird. So I asked my guru. Mom
You know not to use it when she has 3 “oh”s . So. I checked out this recipe from My stay at home adventure which is her Arroz junto con pollo. While I used her general ideas, I changed parts of it to fit how mom used it (but again with what I had in hand).
To start, I didn’t have sofrito. If you do not know what sofrito is, it is the base for everything Puerto Rico in stews and honestly, anything you are doing that requires a big amount of liquid. I have used a lot of different recipes, but the main one I use if from Boricua.com. I have also seen this one from Kitchen Gidget. I did see one online, honestly do not remember where, but it added tomatoes. I know that every Spanish speaking/Latino country has its own version for sofrito, but the ones from PR do not.
Here’s how I did my sofrito:
- 3 green bell peppers
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 huge bunch of cilantro (the only way I eat cilantro)
- 1 head of garlic
- Salt and Pepper
- Mexican Oregano
I essentially added all of the ingredients to the food processor and gave it a whirl. Most of the step by step and details you can check out their recipes. This is not SUPER traditional because I cannot finds the “Ají” or the culantro. At least not super accesible like today when I realized I had NO sofrito and had to make one from scratch.
After you blend everything in your food processor/blender it will look like this:
When it all said and done, I am putting the sofrito in some silicone ice cube trays. I got these in amazon. When I scoop everything in there I might add just a touch of Extra virgin olive oil so that I always have sofrito ready to go in the freezer.
Now that we have that out of the way, Here is how I made my arroz con pollo in the instant pot!
Instant pot arroz con pollo
- 6 bone in chicken thighs
- 4 cups of rice
- 3 cups of water (you can add broth if you want)
- 3 tablespoons of my homemade sofrito
- 2 packets of sazón
- 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic (you can add up to a tablespoon)
- 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste (it just adds flavor, but no color. Also, don’t tell mom)
- Extra virgin olive oil (around 2 Tablespoons)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Adobo seasoning
You will move quickly at some point so make sure you have your mice en place ready (everything set up)
So here’s the deal. If you are going to make PR food you need MINIMUM Adobo seasoning. There is no way that you can make PR food without it.
Now, if you live in the Des Moines Metro, you can go to a couple of places to get some adobo. There’s adobo in Wangs Asian Market, Penzey’s spices in University or some from allspice in the East Village. Last time I went to PR I bought a HUGE Goya adobo seasoning from Sam’s club. But, i did get some from allspice and Wang’s. I have honestly have not tried the one from Wang’s, but the allspice adobo is REALLY good.
Here’s how I made the Arroz con Pollo:
- Set your IP (instant pot) to the sauté setting. Wait for it to heat up and add your oil. You want enough oil to cover the pan.
- Season your bone in chicken thighs with the adobo of your preference, then crack some black pepper. As much as you want.
- Sear, in batches the chicken thighs. around 4-5 mins per side.
- Set your chicken aside on a plate. This is were “the magic happens”. This is were my townhome smelled like mom’s kitchen.
- You will need to move quickly. Add the sofrito, garlic, tomato paste, and sazón packets. Mix well and deglaze the pan with it. This should take to up to a minute. CANCEL the sauté. I am skeptical and I unplug and start anew.
- Add rice and mix well. Add the chicken on top.
- After everything is together close the IP and out the pressure in seasoning.
- Click on the rice button (mine stayed in Auto for the whole time) and leave it for a minimum of 12 minutes. Each IP is different. I left mine for 20. Remember that I also have BONE-IN chicken thighs. It would take the 12 mins if you had chicken breasts or boneless skinless thighs. (Note to you and self: use thighs whenever posible. Breasts tend to dry up in these type of dishes).
- After MY 20 mins that the rice was in the IP, ENJOY. It tastes REALLY good. And super close to what my mom always made. But hey, you will never cook as good as your mom. THE BEST PART? There is PE.GA.O (Pegao is the crunchy part of the rice that you always get when you make it in the calder0. Trust and believe. Families wage war to who get the pegao.)
Top with some fresh parsley and ENJOY.
Let me know what you think!!!