Cuban Imperial Rice recipe - Receta de Arroz Imperial
Arroz Imperial is not served in Cuban homes as
often as arroz con pollo, yet it's still a popular meal. It's not
clear exactly when and where this casserole originated in Cuba, but
it's unique in that cooks typically add a layer of mayo on top after
removing it from the oven.
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 cup rice
1 can (4 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup green peas
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of salt
Dash of red pepper
Add enough water to a large pot so that the chicken breasts
will be covered. Bring water to a boil over medium high heat.
Wash the chicken breasts and cut them in half before the
water boils. Reduce the heat the low, then add chicken and garlic and cover.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
Remove chicken, and save the broth in the pot. Shred the chicken into large
chunks using two forks, then set aside.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a saucepan over low heat. Add the diced
bell pepper and onion, saute until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato
paste and chicken, bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered
for 10 minutes. Add peas, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Mix in a dash of
salt and red pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
Add a cup of rice to the chicken broth mixture, and one teaspoon of ground
annatto seed or achiote paste for color. Cover pot and cook for 15-20
minutes until the rice absorbs most of the broth. Remove from heat and stir the mayonnaise
into the cooked rice until it is mixed well.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread half of your rice mixture on the bottom of a
glass baking dish. Add a layer of shredded chicken on top of the rice. Add the remaining rice mixture to the top of the chicken, pressing down
with a spatula to make everything firm and level. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese
on top of the last layer. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, remove before cheese
starts to brown.
Optional: Add a thin layer of mayo to the top layer of rice after removing from
oven. It may sound unusual, but it's a very popular way for Cubans to enjoy
this dish. This recipe serves 8-10.
Main Cuban recipe pages:
• soups •