Arroz con Pollo Meatballs

A while ago I posted my all time favorite recipe for arroz con pollo on the blog. The recipe I make all the time, so you know it’s legit. I wanted to give it a small twist though and so I present to you Arroz con Pollo Meatballs. It’s basically the same thing but with chicken meatballs instead of bone-in chicken. It’s easier to cook (not as scary for new cooks) and just as tasty. I love a good meatball recipe, as I’m sure you know by now, and so I’m always looking for new ways to make something into a meatball and this recipe in particular is one I’m sure you’ll love and make again and again.

To make the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper until evenly incorporated. Form into twelve equal meatballs, rolling between the palm of your hands. Place on a plate while you shape the rest.

**Note: You can also use ground turkey, pork or even ground beef for this recipe. They’d all be delicious with the saffron infused rice.**

In a small measuring cup or bowl, add the wine and sprinkle in the saffron. Set aside and allow to steep until ready to use.

**Tip: This step helps bloom the yeast and activate it’s color and flavor. The wine is just to give the dish overall flavor, but it’s optional. You can also bloom the saffron in chicken stock.**

Set a large dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid, over moderate heat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, place the meatballs in a single layer, giving them enough space. Do not over-crowd the pot, do this step in batches if need be. Cook until the meatballs are fully browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

**Note: They don’t need to be fully cooked at all at this point. We’re just looking to brown them and develop flavor. Transfer the meatballs onto a plate and set aside.**

Once all of the meatballs have browned, add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the chopped peppers and tomato paste and cook until deep red in color, about 1 minute. 

Add the arborio rice and bay leaves and cook for another minute or so to develop the rice’s flavor.

Stir in the wine saffron mixture and cook until almost evaporated completely, making sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Nestle in the meatballs and sprinkle with the olives on top.

Cover and transfer to the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven, remove the lid and sprinkle the top with the peas. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley right before serving.

Serve by itself (it’s a great meal all on it’s own) but it’s also delicious with a simple salad on the side. Don’t forget about the wine. That’s why whenever I cook with wine, I like to pick something I would normally drink so that I can actually enjoy it with the dish as well!

I know a lot of people who aren’t comfortable or are just scared to cook with bone-in chicken, due to not knowing if it’s fully cooked or not, and so this version is better because ground chicken cooks much faster. Plus meatballs are just fun to make and eat.

This is the type of comfort food we need at the moment. It’s the perfect dish to curl up on the couch with, especially with this cold weather. I hope you’ll give it a try and if you do, please be sure to let me know what you think. It’s one of my favorite recipes, and I hope you’ll like it too. Thank you for reading and following along!

Arroz con Pollo Meatballs
5 from 1 vote

Arroz con Pollo Meatballs

These Arroz con Pollo Meatballs are a new take on my classic chicken and rice dish from a few years ago. It's easy and delicious!
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Dutch Oven

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked, hot or sweet Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Rice:

  • Larch pinch saffron
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 medium brown onion diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • Kosher salt and Coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup jarred piquillo or roasted red bell peppers chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives drained
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • To make the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper until evenly incorporated. Form into twelve equal meatballs, rolling between the palm of your hands. Place on a plate while you shape the rest.
  • In a small measuring cup or bowl, add the wine and sprinkle in the saffron. Set aside and allow to steep until ready to use.
  • Set a large dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid, over moderate heat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, place the meatballs in a single layer, giving them enough space. Do not over-crowd the pot, do this step in batches if need be. Cook until the meatballs are fully browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. They don't need to be fully cooked at all. Transfer the meatballs onto a plate and set aside.
  • Once all of the meatballs have browned, add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the chopped peppers and tomato paste and cook until deep red in color, about 1 minute. Add the rice and bay leaves and cook for another minute or so to develop the rice’s flavor. Stir in the wine saffron mixture and cook until almost evaporated completely, making sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Nestle in the meatballs and sprinkle with the olives on top.
  • Cover and transfer to the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven, remove the lid and sprinkle the top with the peas. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Latin American, Spanish
Keyword: Chicken, Dinner, Meatballs, Rice

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  2. Ditto what Charle said! I only have jasmine rice at the moment..will that work with this recipe?

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