Cuban Imperial Rice

I got this recipe from a friend of mine. I’m not sure if her family is from Cuba, but I Googled “Imperial Rice”, and every recipe said it was Cuban. So I shall adopt that and give you Mari’s rendition of Cuban Imperial Rice:

I will also include the approximate cost of the meal, that should be helpful, right?

Cuban Imperial Rice

-1 pound cooked chicken, shredded $3.99
-one green pepper, diced $1.07
-one yellow onion, diced $.95
-3 cloves of garlic, minced $.05
-8 oz can of tomato sauce $.55
-16 oz brown rice $.99
-saffron (this is the splurge, but so worth it) $6.19, but only use half.
-frozen peas $.99 (use half a bag) $.45

These are ingredients in your pantry that you’ll shell out the dough for once, but use in many recipes:
-cumin $1.99 (use 2 tablespoons)
-oregano $1.99 (use 2 teaspoons)
-bay leaves $2.49 (use 1 leaf)
-chicken base $5.99 (use 4 teaspoons)
-your favorite mayo (mine was $4.89, but with $2.00 off coupon) $2.89 (use about 1 cup)

First you’ll need to put the rice on. My brown rice takes about 50 minutes to cook. I follow the liquid to rice ratio on the package which is two parts liquid to one part rice. Add chicken stock base (or just use chicken stock, although it would be much more affordable in the long run to invest in the base). Also add the bay leaf and saffron. Cook according to package directions.

Next, heat a little olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic, green pepper, onion,cumin, oregano, and a little salt. Cook for about ten minutes. Add shredded chicken. (I cooked my chicken all day in a crock pot with a little chicken broth, salt and pepper.). Add tomato sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes.

When everything is cooked you can start the assembly process. I used a pan that measures 7.5″x10″, but an 8″x8″ would work fine too.

First layer of your Cuban Imperial Rice is half of the rice:

Next layer is all of the chicken mixture:

Then the rest of the rice:

Then smear the mayo on top (I know, mayo sounds weird. Trust me on this one):

Cover with peas:


Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. This seems like it should serve about six hungry people. Two people 3 times.

So according to my calculations, if you have the pantry items stocked, Cuban Imperial Rice should cost about $11.24. If you are buying everything for the first time, it will set you back about $24.35.

This is a whole lotta food, and it freezes really well. I do hope you try it, and Mari, if you’re reading, please send more family recipes my way 🙂

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One thought on “Cuban Imperial Rice

  1. Don’t forget the hot sauce on this one…I’m guessing that would fit perfectly with this amazing looking dish!

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