Cuban Arroz Imperial aka Imperial Rice. A classic Cuban comfort food dish made with layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken, mayonnaise, and melted cheese. Perfect for parties, large crowds, and any time of year!
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Keyword: arroz imperial, cuban arroz imperial, imperial rice, rice with cheese, rice with chicken and cheese
1cansliced pimentos4 oz, drained (plus more for garnish, optional)
1cantomato sauce8 oz
2cupsuncooked Riceland Long Grain Ricewashed and drained
1chicken bouillon cube
Pinch of achiote, annatto or turmeric powder to color the rice
3cupscooked and shredded chicken breast(you can use a rotisserie chicken to save time)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2cupchicken stock to deglaze the pan
FOR THE LAYERS
2cupsshredded cheeseGouda, Cheddar, any melty cheese will work!
1/2cupmayonnaiseplain Greek yogurt, or sour cream
In a Dutch oven or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Add sliced pimentos and tomato sauce. Sauté for 1 minute. Add rice, water, bouillon cube, achiote and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE LID. The steam is what cooks the rice. After 15 minutes, remove from heat. Keep the lid on for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
In a skillet, add olive oil, onions, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sauté onions with spices for 5 minutes at medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock to deglaze the pan then add the shredded chicken and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an 8x8 baking dish, you will begin layering your ingredients. First, start by spreading a thin layer of mayonnaise at the bottom. This will prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the dish.
Next, add a layer of rice, then a layer of shredded chicken, then a layer of shredded cheese, another layer of rice, a thicker layer of mayonnaise, a layer of shredded chicken, and top it off with a thick layer of shredded cheese.
Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes to melt the cheese. Garnish with sliced olives and pimentos, if desired. Serve and enjoy!