Arroz de Galinha


As the child of Portuguese immigrants, 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef George Mendes grew up eating all sorts of rice dishes at home. "There was simple tomato rice served with fried fish and then rabbit rice on special occasions and holidays," he says. This cozy chicken and rice recipe draws on those memories. In it, shredded rotisserie chicken, olives, sautéed onions and bell pepper, and crispy rendered soppressata are topped with cooked saffron rice and baked until the rice gets crispy on top to make a comforting dinner.

Arroz de Galinha
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 1.50 cups lower-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth 

  • 1 cup uncooked white basmati rice (not rinsed)

  • ¼ teaspoon plus 1 pinch of kosher salt, divided  

  • 20 saffron threads (scant 1/4 teaspoon) 

  • teaspoon black pepper 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) 

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 

  • .50 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 

  • 3 ounces soppressata, peeled and sliced into half-moons (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 (about 2-pounds) whole rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat picked and shredded (3 to 4 cups) 

  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced


  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium. Stir in rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, saffron, and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low; cook, undisturbed, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add onion, garlic, and remaining pinch of salt; cook, stirring often, until onion is light golden, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add soppressata; stir well to combine. Cook, stirring often, until soppressata begins to render, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and olives. Top with cooked rice. Carefully stir mixture to combine, and flatten slightly using a spatula.

  3. Bake in preheated oven 8 minutes. Stir mixture using a fork. Continue baking until rice is slightly crisped on top and around sides, about 3 minutes. Serve family-style. 

Suggested Pairing 

Robust, peppery Portuguese red: Herdade do Esporão Reserva

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