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overhead view of a shallow white bowl of soupy rice with shredded chicken
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Soupy Rice with Free-Range Chicken (Arroz Caldoso de Pollo de Corral)

The definition of comfort, this is a Spanish dish that is somewhat a cross between a soup and a stew.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 530kcal
Author: Victoria


  • 2 whole free-range chicken legs* (I use 8 regular skinless bone-in chicken thighs instead)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I use less)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 sweet Italian green pepper or ½ small green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes halved crosswise, seeded and grated down to the skin, skins discarded
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 12 unsalted toasted almonds without skins (I use an equivalent weight of about 14 grams almond meal instead)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 ⅓ cups (265 grams) bomba rice or another short or medium-grain Spanish rice
  • 1 pinch saffron threads


  • Remove the skin from the chicken. Split the legs into drumsticks and thighs, and then cut each in half crosswise through the bone to get eight bone-in pieces. Pick out any small bone shards.
  • In a Dutch oven or another heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, onion, green pepper, and tomatoes. Season with salt and cook until the chicken is browned, about 12 minutes (I allow the chicken to brown on one side and then flipped the pieces over before adding the vegetables, otherwise the chicken won’t really brown). Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover with 8 cups water, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and gently simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the liquid has reduced by about one-third.
  • Meanwhile prepare a picada by adding the almonds, parsley, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of the simmering liquid to a small food processor and blending until smooth.
  • To the simmering pot, sprinkling in the rice and the saffron, crushing it between your fingers, and stir in the picada. Cook uncovered until the rice grains are nearly tender but still have a definite al dente bite to them, 14 to 16 minutes, depending on the rice. Add more water if needed to keep it nice and soupy.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit covered for 3 to 4 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid the longer it sits.


  • Free-range chickens tend to be generously sized, weighing up to 8 pounds. I use regular (not free-range) chicken thighs, which saved some of the prep for the dish and still yielded an amazingly delicious and comforting result.
  • To shake things up a bit, in autumn, add a handful of mushrooms, or in the spring add some trimmed artichokes or fresh shucked peas or fava beans.
  • This soupy rice is best the day it is made. The rice will soak up the broth the longer is sits and become less soupy.
Adapted from Spain


Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 439mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g