Cuban-Style Millet con Pollo

When I worked in the travel industry, I used to randomly jet off for the weekend on my own. One time, during an especially long New York winter, I went to Miami. What I remember most vividly aren't the beaches, but a dish of arroz con pollo I had sitting at the counter at a Cuban diner my friend Luisa had told me about. I set out to replicate the flavors in this classic chicken casserole here, substituting milleta bouncy little whole grainfor the rice. Now if only I could replicate those travel benefits!


  • 1 tablespoon cumin, divided
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, divided
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups millet
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces), drained
  • 1 bottle beer (I used Shiner Bock)
  • 2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon ground annatto* (or achiote paste)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup large pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced crosswise


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon oregano with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Sprinkle all chicken pieces with spice mixture.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and toast the millet for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker. Pour the millet into a bowl, return the pot to the burner, and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brown the chicken on all sides in two batches, about 5-8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a plate as done. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat, and add onion, garlic and bell pepper to the pot. Saute 5-8 minutes, until softened and translucent.
  • Pour tomatoes, beer and chicken broth into the pot, and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of cumin and 2 teaspoons oregano along with the bay leaf, annatto and another pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and nestle the chicken legs and thighs into the liquid. Cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook 10 minutes.
  • After the dark meat has cooked 10 minutes, take the pot out of the oven, uncover, and scrape in the millet. Stir well, and nestle the rest of the chicken into the liquid in as close to a single layer as you can get it. Cover, and cook another 30 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the oven, and uncover. Scatter the frozen peas and olives on top, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Servings: 10
P.S. I like to squeeze a lime onto both this dish and the beer I'm drinking with it.
* Annatto powder comes from the achiote seed and is slightly sweet, slightly bitter. It's also what gives this dish its golden hue. You can find annatto powder in the spice section of your grocery store or in Mexican markets. If you can't find it, or don't want to buy it, no worries. You can substitute the same amount of achiote paste, or equal amounts turmeric and paprika, or just go without. Your millet just won't be as gold.
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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!


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