Polo a la Plancha with Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Looking for a quick and delicious weeknight meal that sort of feels like you’re at a roadside cafe, looking out over a beach, listening to Buena Vista Social club? Well, I’ve got the meal for you. Usually I just focus on the chicken thigh main, but in the case of this dish, it’s so beautifully simple, I felt it only fair to include a couple of sides to round it out.

Polo a la Plancha just means chicken on the flat top – and in essence that’s what it is. The dish exists in all sorts of forms all over the world, and is particularly common in the countries in and surrounding the Caribbean sea. The particular version I’m sharing today is most similar to the style made by Cuban cooks. Because of the rather odd, and rather extended, political situation between that island country and my own, only had it prepared in restaurants owned and staffed by members of the Cuban diaspora.


This preparation is simple, delicious, and best of all – because the marinade is highly acidic, very fast. The chicken rests for just 30 or so minutes in a mixture of salted lime and orange juice dosed with olive oil, garlic, cumin, and just a pinch of smoked paprika. Then a quick trip to a pan, comal, or flat top grill. A few grilled onion rings on top, beans and rice on the side, and you’re all ready to go.

Polo a la Plancha with Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Recipe by DrewCourse: Boneless, CaribbeanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



A quick, tasty, cuban style stovetop chicken


  • For the Chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 oz orange juice

  • 2 oz lime juice

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 large onion

  • For the Black Beans
  • 1 cup dry black turtle beans

  • 1/2 onion

  • 2 pieces bacon

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 bay leaf

  • For the Rice
  • 1 cup long grain or jasmine rice

  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • 1/2 tsp annatto powder


  • Prepare the marinade
  • Peel, trim, and microplane or mince the garlic.
  • Place the garlic, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt in a container (or zip top bag) large enough to hold all the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the container, cover or seal, and marinate for 30 minutes, and not more than 1 hour.
  • Finish the chicken
  • Peel, trim, and cut the onion into rings about 1/4 -1/2 thick.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag, and cook on a preheated flat top, cast iron skillet, or comal over medium high heat.
  • Cook, turning once, until will browned on both sides, and the internal temperature has reached 156°F.
  • Remove the chicken and allow to rest.
  • Arrange the onion rings in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides.
  • Arrange the onion rings on top of the chicken for service.
  • For the Black Beans
  • If using a pressure cooker, skip to the next step. Soak the beans in cold water for 8 hours or over night.
  • Place the beans, bacon, 1/2 onion, the cumin, and the bay leaf in a large pot or pressure cooker.
  • Add 5 cups of water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Pressure cook or simmer until tender (~1 hour).
  • remove and discard the bay leaf, the bacon, and the onion.
  • Season with salt.
  • Serve hot.
  • For the Yellow Rice
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a lidded pan over medium heat.
  • Add the rice.
  • Cook the rice, stirring constantly, until most or all of the grains have taken on a lighter color.
  • Add the annatto powder, and stir well to combine.
  • Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Lower the temperature to the lowest setting, cover, and cook undisturbed until the rice has taken up all the liquid – about 20-30 minutes.
  • Add the frozen peas, stir to combine, cover, and let steam for ten minutes.
  • Season with salt.
  • Serve hot.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

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