Oh, Costa Rica

Today was one of those rainy days. I live on the east coast and tropical depression Beryl (is that what it’s called) made its presence known. The sky was grey, rain pattered against my window nonstop, and my yard was flooded. Obviously, I decided it was a good idea to stay in. But my day was far from dreary. There are so many wonderful things you can do on a rainy day. For example, you can snuggle in bed with that book you’ve been meaning to finish for over a month now. Or you can curl up on the couch and watch a new movie from Redbox. Best of all, you can take a nice hot shower and then spend the rest of the afternoon walking around the house naked. Rainy days are rad!

(A market in Heredia)

What is my favorite part of rainy days, you ask? Stick-to-your-ribs food! You know what I’m talking about. The kind of food that speaks to your soul. Like chili. Like banana french toast. Like baked ziti. Like arroz con pollo- that’s rice with chicken for those of you unfamiliar. Ah, arroz con pollo! What a relationship the two of us have. You see, a couple years ago I spent part of my summer studying abroad in Costa Rica. Though I had the opportunity to experience some pretty tasty dishes (had the best fish I’ve ever tried), it would be a lie to say that my meals were varied. If I never see gallo pinto again as long as I shall live…I will die most satisfied. Arroz con pollo was a rather prominent guest in my diet that month as well. For the longest time, I’ll admit, I was pretty keen on leaving arroz con pollo in Costa Rica where it belongs. But all this rain today has reminded me of that summer down down south in Central America (June is part of their wet season- it rained every afternoon like clockwork) and arroz con pollo tugged a little on my heart strings

(This is gallo pinto with toast, fruit, and coffee)

Now, the recipe I’m about to share is not authentic arroz con pollo. It’s an easy concoction I whipped up with ingredients I already had on hand. I’m not above using substitutions and taking shortcuts. It makes things a little more interesting!

(My mamatica served some bomb guacamole on the side of her arroz con pollo!)


  • Skinless, boneless chicken tenderloins
  • Mojo marinade
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Green bell pepper
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 pks Sazon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 can diced/crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf

Marinate chicken in Mojo. This step isn’t really necessary. If you like, you can just season your chicken with salt and pepper. But this entry is about using what you have on hand and I just so happened to have some unused mojo in my fridge. So I popped that bad boy open!

Meanwhile, chop bell peppers, onion, and garlic. I cheat and use pre-minced garlic. Saves me a little time and my hands don’t smell for days. Try not to slice your thumb off, which is exactly what I tried to do. Fortunately, I was not successful and a band-aid saved the day

Drizzle olive oil into a deep pan, preferably a dutch oven of sorts, set on medium-high. Toss in your chopped veggies and garlic and listen to them sing! Cook until everything starts to soften

Then add salt, pepper, and the 2 packages of Sazon (which can be found in the International or Mexican aisle of your local grocery store). This is what it looks like

Now add the marinaded chicken, cubed into bite size pieces. If you like, you can precook the chicken and shred it into the pot

Once the chicken looks about halfway cooked, add the can of tomatoes. At this point, you can also add the bay leaf

Pour in the wine and let bubble for a few minutes. Next, add the chicken broth. Bring to a roiling boil. Now add the rice

Finally, turn heat to low. Cover your pot and leave it alone for 25-30 minutes. Now, I know you’re going to be tempted to check on your little pot of gold, but it’s best if you don’t. This is because once you open that lid, you’re going to be tempted to stir everything together. That would be bad. That would be very bad. Stirring will not give you good arroz con pollo. It will give you sticky arroz con pollo- that’s sticky rice with chicken…not quite what we’re going for here. So, step away from the pot, head toward the living room, and watch the latest episode of Girls. Have a glass of some leftover wine while you’re at it!

See?! And you doubted me. Well, go ahead. You can give it a little stir now. Then scoop yourself a bowl and continue your afternoon HBO marathon. Bring on the next rainy day (probably tomorrow)!

Pura Vida!