Chicken perloo is an iconic Southern one-pot recipe made with vegetables, rice, and smoked chicken–although you can use nearly any other protein you desire. Rodney Scott’s recipe for rib rub adds spice, sweetness, and a little more smokiness.
In the Lowcountry region (the coastal areas of the Carolinas and Georgia), perloo is a beloved rice dish. Similar to jambalaya, perloo starts with a flavorful base of rice simmered with tomato, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and onion. This is my favorite one-pot recipe. It’s great as a side dish or a center table item.
We use chicken in this recipe, but you could substitute another protein such as shrimp or pork. When Paul, the culinary director for the whole Pihakis Restaurant Group, first tasted perloo he said it reminded him of a caldoso, a Spanish soupy rice dish.–Rodney Scott & Lolis Eric Eli
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 celery stalks cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large (6 oz) green bell pepper cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium (6 oz) yellow onion cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) stewed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade rib rub
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 6 cups canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup (7 oz) short-grain rice* such as Carnaroli, Charleston Gold, or Arborio
- 12 ounces smoked chicken meat picked off the bone (or substitute rotisserie chicken)
- 1 bunch scallions chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil. Add celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and cook until vegetables become translucent and soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add stewed tomatoes, rib rub, and salt to the sautéed vegetables, cook until all the liquid is gone and the mixture begins to caramelize on the bottom of the pot, 15 to 25 minutes more.
- Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and smoked chicken and transfer to the oven. Bake, uncovered, until rice is soft and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and garnish with scallions. Devour.
*What is short-grain rice best used for?Rodney Scott uses short-grain rice in this recipe, and for good reason. Short-grain rice, such as arborio, carnaroli, and Charleston gold, is perfect for recipes with a soupy or stewy texture such as chicken perloo or jambalaya. Starchier than long- or medium-grain rice, these particular types of rice absorb a lot of liquid and take on a creamy texture. Risotto is a perfect example of how creamy this type of rice gets when cooked with lots of flavorful liquid.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This delicious recipe was well worth my while despite today’s summer heat. (Plus, I got to use my own cherry tomatoes!) I’d never heard of chicken perloo, but this recipe turns out a wonderfully savory, soupy, chickeny stew that I’m looking forward to making again this winter. Not a ton of prep is needed, and the stew really does its own thing for most of the time, not requiring your constant attention at all. What a good addition to one’s winter dinner menus!
Chicken perloo was the salvation of last night’s over-baked chicken thighs. Being able to use my Dutch oven was a real boon. An EASY recipe, and it turned out just as the introduction stated–a “soupy rice dish”, perfect for cold fall afternoons and a great use for leftover roast chicken. Delicious!
Originally published September 11, 2021