Panamanian Chicken and Rice

Another day, another WordPress Recipe Challenge and another country.

With blogging I get to peer over the worlds garden fence and see what’s growing and into its kitchens. I get to sit in and watch a pretty cake being made, a pot on the stove top stirred, see the spices ground – I get to see what’s cooking around the globe.  Panama is a few miles from me, and until I came across the blog Blue Jelly Beans I realised I knew very little about this country, you see Giovanna hails from Panama and now lives in Spain. I’m a reasonably well travelled woman, but with blogging I don’t even have to leave my chair and desk to take a quick trip to Panama.

I’ve come to learn this is a classic Panamanian dish. So Panama now get’s to visit St Leonards On Sea, where I cooked up this oh so simple but truly tasty dish.

So you are thinking, yeah, yeah, yeah Chicken and Rice what could be so different about a Panamanian version? What makes it so good? There are no major seasonings in here other than the chicken and the veggies – no garlic, no herbs. The answer is in the genius addition of Olives and Capers. Which give it a tang, a lift out of the ordinary, See I said it was genius.

This is a fantastic one pot meal, you can use as much or as little chicken as you have, bulk it up with lots of rice and veggies. It would make a great party dish. And it tastes superb cold the next day. I halved the recipe, and used a mixture of rice (basmati, wild and brown) it gave it a lovely crunchy texture. I was able to use some home-grown green beans from the freezer, and you could add any vegetable you like, whatever is in season would work. And I’ve already waxed lyrical about the olives and capers!

I was careful to add the water in stages, I didn’t want to end up with soggy rice, so a bit of guesswork on my behalf. I also didn’t use chicken on the bone as I had some chicken fillets that needed using up, but I’m imagining the flavours from chicken that is on the bone, and still has its skin on.

Pop over to BlueJellyBeans, she writes in both Spanish and English, shares her recipes and world with generosity and grace, there’s often a great story or a mini history lesson on the origins of the recipes. It’s a lovely place to visit, as I’m sure Panama is! So a big thank you to Giovanna for transporting me and my kitchen to Panama for a meal

The recipe in full is here – happy cooking 🙂


  • It is indeed a lovely recipe – we eat a lot of simialr rice and meat dishes down here in Andalucía to. As you say, use what you have available. By the way, my parents went to the Taj Mahal yesterday evening and have just spent 15 minutes on the phone raving about the food! The both had starters (Potato cutlet something plus one other?) and then veggie thali and said the flavours were all so distinct and incredible. Now I´m jealous 😦 but even more determiend to pay a visit soon!

    • Only 15 minutes of waxing lyrical I bet I could yack on for far longer 😉 I love the Thali’s, a real taste of everything! And I’m so pleased they finaly made it and enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Hi Giovanna, and thank you for suggesting the recipe in the first place. It was lovely and simple to make, flavourful, and I can imagine having it in summer with peas and broad beans.
      Hmmmm Panamanian ancestors, now there’s a possibility, they would have to have come via Wales 🙂

  • Chicken & rice is a great one pot meal but I never would have thought to add olives or capers to that pot. I’ll be heading to the grocery later this morning and I think I just stumbled upon my Sunday dinner. Thanks for pointing me in Giovanna’s direction, Claire!

    • Rather than wait another day, I made this for dinner tonight — and loved it! The capers and chopped olives make it unique and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks, again, Claire!

    • It is a great one pot meal John, perfect for when you want to make something nice but don’t want to use every utensil in the kitchen! I think it would be good for parties or buffets too.

  • Hola!! Ok, that’s what I’m making for supper! Just have to go for a walk and buy some olives!! Thanks for that, Claire and I’ll go visit this bluejellybeans site!
    Blogging is such fun and yes, what great foods, yum yum yum!!


    • Hola 🙂 Fabulous, I hope you like it, I had to go and get some olive stoo, but as we eat them all the time it wasn’t a big issue ! I think you’ll like BlueJellyBeans blog, there’s some great recipes to inspire us all there

  • Every time I go to Giovanna’s blog, I get hungry. Her food reminds me of when we lived in south Florida where so much Latin food is cooked. Your dish looks perfect. I have to say I enjoyed your writing on this post…lovely. You wrote what I think we all feel.

    • Hi Karen, I wonder if you miss the latin food you found in Florida? either way it’s lovely to be able to recreate some dishes at home. And thank you for the lovely compliment 🙂

  • I immediately noticed the green olives in the picture and thought how unusual it looked…at first glance it almost looks odd, but simply because it is so unexpected. I can easily imagine the taste of olives and capers and they would really elevate a simple chicken and rice dish! I really enjoyed your conversation about traveling around the world via blogging. It is so true! I learn so much! And I count you as one of my favorite teachers! Debra

    • Hi Debra, the olives were perfect, and as luck would have it, they were nicely placed on top of the rice dish, so the photos came out well for a change! and thank you for your kind words, I think blogging really is a way to travel and to see, and taste and learn about others lives – all things I’m passionate about!

  • Looks wonderful! I sort of view Panama’s arroz con pollo, with its olives and capers, as a scaled back paella-type thing instead of an enhanced arroz con pollo type thing. But whatever you call it, it’s delish

    I wonder if pitting the olives first makes it less authentic. 🙂 I broke my tooth on an olive pit from a serving of arroz con pollo at a Panamanian bus stop years ago.

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