Pineapple Almond Chicken (Pollo Almendrado) with White Rice (Arroz Blanco)

Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 50 min
Serves: 4

This sweet, crunchy chicken is a deliciously different take on the usual pineapple chicken recipes. The cilantro-infused rice served alongside makes this an unforgettable Mexican-inspired meal.


Pineapple Almond Chicken (Pollo Almendrado) with White Rice (Arroz Blanco):

8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cups (175 mL) almonds, whole
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
2 cups (500 mL) pineapple, cubed
1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) honey
1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) cloves, ground
1 tbsp (15 mL) thyme, minced
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt

Arroz Blanco:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) yellow onion, diced
1 cup (250 mL) short grain brown rice
2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup (125 mL) cilantro, minced
2 slices orange, sliced


Pineapple Almond Chicken (Pollo Almendrado) with White Rice (Arroz Blanco)

1 Toast almonds in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 30 minutes. Cool and grind ½ cup (125 mL) of the almonds in the blender until fine. Coarsely chop the remaining ¼ cup (50 mL).
2 Brown the chicken thighs in the hot oil, 10 minutes on each side. Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in a shallow glass baking pan.
3 Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Puree approximately ½ cup (125 mL) of the fresh pineapple and chop the rest into bite-size pieces. In a medium bowl combine orange and lime juices, all the pineapple, minced jalapeño, honey, cloves, thyme, ground almonds and salt.
4 Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with chopped almonds and bake uncovered for 60 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the chicken thighs reads 165°F (74°C), and sauce reduces and thickens.

Arroz Blanco

1 To make Arroz Blanco (Mexican-style white rice) heat the oil with the garlic in a skillet. Cook until garlic is golden brown; remove and discard garlic.
2 Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until puffed (do not cook until the rice is golden). Push the rice to the side and sauté the onion until soft. Stir the rice and the onion together. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed (about 18 minutes or according to package directions). Toss lightly with a fork before serving.
3 Serve almond chicken on a bed of cooked rice and garnish with fresh orange slices and minced fresh cilantro (coriander). Serve sauce with chicken.