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Simple Chicken Perloo: South Carolina Classic

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Chicken Perloo is a South Carolina classic one pot chicken and rice dish that’s smokey, a little sweet, hearty, and so delicious. It’s Southern comfort food at its best. And — easy to make, with simple ingredients and amazing flavor… even for weeknight dinners.

Side view of Chicken Perloo is a covered casserole dish

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In the coastal Lowcountry region of the Carolinas and Georgia, Perloo is an iconic rice dish. Much like jambalaya, its base is a flavorful combination of vegetables, aromatics, and rice. We’re using chicken in this dish, but you can substitute other protein, like shrimp or pork.

What is Chicken Perloo?

Perloo is a rice-based dish that’s very similar to other Southern classics, often referred to as “pilaf” or “pilau.” For instance, in Louisiana, it’s similar to jambalaya, a dish often requested at my house. In South Florida and Spanish-speaking countries, it’s much like paella.

It’s even, sometimes, called Chicken Bog. If you would like to try an Instant Pot version, see our Instant Pot Chicken Bog recipe.

Top view of Chicken Perloo with fresh tomatoes and parsley in a covered casserole dish

Chicken Perloo

Tradition versions of this versatile dish often use a whole smoked chicken. And it does add delicious flavor.

But keeping things simple, I most often opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Which, after cooked in deliciously fragrant and seasoned rice, can be shredded and stirred back into the rice, or served whole for individual servings.

For a smokey flavor, I’ve always bacon, along with onions, peppers, and garlic. And when they cooked alongside the bacon, well, you know. It’s just simply wonderful!

The result is a fluffy rice dish cooked in a rich, flavorful broth, with tender chicken and vegetables. Be prepared for seconds on this one!

Side view of Chicken Perloo in a Cream Dutch Oven

Equipment Needed to Make Chicken Perloo

A deep, heavy pot. That’s it.

I like to use a Dutch Oven, but any heavy-bottomed large pot will do.

Chicken Perloo Ingredients

As mentioned, Perloo is an incredibly adaptable dish. In fact, most home cooks, who make Perloo, have their own take on this iconic Southern dish. Here’s my version of our favorite Chicken Perloo.

Scroll to the bottom of this post to read specific ingredient measurements in the recipe card — but here’s an ingredient summary list:

  • Olive oil
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Onion, chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Green bell pepper, chopped
  • Bay leaf
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • White rice (medium or long grain)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chicken broth
  • Fresh parsley

How to Make Chicken Perloo

This dish begins by browning chicken thighs in a large Dutch Oven, before removing them to a holding plate.

To the same pot, the bacon and vegetables will saute before adding the rice.

Top view of bacon, peppers, onions, and garlic sautéing in a pot

Then it’s simply adding additional vegetables, broth, and herbs to the pot, and bringing it all to a simmer.

Chicken Perloo is then finished in the oven for 30 minutes.

Top view of Chicken Perloo with tomatoes in a Pot

It’s delicious and simple. And my guys are always going back for seconds.

Plus — leftovers make superb, splurge-worthy lunches.

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Close up view of Chicken Perloo with fresh parsley in a covered casserole dish
Side view of Chicken Perloo is a covered casserole dish

Chicken Perloo: A South Carolina Classic

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Chicken Perloo is a South Carolina classic one pot chicken and rice dish that's smokey, a little sweet, hearty, and so delicious. It's Southern comfort food at its best. And -- easy to make, with simple ingredients and amazing flavor... even for weeknight dinners.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups white rice (long or medium grain)
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch Oven. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate; set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the bacon. Cook until browned; about 4 minutes. Stir in the onion and green pepper; saute until softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Finally, stir in the rice until it's coated.
  4. To the pot, add the tomatoes, chicken stock, 1 cup water, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes (if using). Bring to a simmer, stirring well, then add the chicken thighs and bring back to a simmer.
  5. Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 678mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g

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5 Comments

    1. That makes a lot sense. I love to research recipe origins and will look for further research for reader information. Thank you for bringing your insight!

  1. I’m writing a story about wagon trains with cooking perlo/pilau/bog in a cast iron wash pot. Can’t find measurements. I’d treasure your info!
    1. Did they cook the chicken/squirrel, possum and then debone it, procuring broth for rice? Or was it possible to start with the right amount of water?
    2. How did they measure the amount of their broth so they could figure the amount of rice to add? Dip broth into buckets to measure?
    3. No refrigerator, so did they have to eat all of it that day in warm climates?

    How did they measure amount of broth?

    1. Hi Fran! I’m so intrigued by your project and questions! I am an avid fan of wagon trains (especially the Oregon Trail as its so close to me) and love to research on the side. Your questions are fascinating, but I don’t know the answers. I love the way you think! I would love to read any tidbits you discover and I’ll also keep my eye out for any answers I come across.

      As to the recipe, use the “Jump to Recipe” link just under the title of the post. The recipe card is always at the bottom of the page. Here’s a quick link: https://www.31daily.com/simple-chicken-perloo-south-carolina-classic/#mv-creation-844-jtr

      Thanks so much for your questions and comments!

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