(Spanish) Chicken and Rice

(Spanish) Chicken and Rice

Detox Resolution Recipe Series: Using whole grains, vegetables, lean meats and healthier fats in recipes you may find taste really good!

Chicken and rice. I know. It sounds like a fifties comfort food recipe: Combine 1 can of creamed soup with chicken, add instant rice and bake until done. Although the following (absurdly delicious) recipe is a far cry from kitchy Americana, all of the best “Chicken and Rice” names have been taken.

Like an expectant mother reviewing her “Name Your Baby” book, dismayed that family and friends have beaten her to the punch, grabbing her favorite names for their offspring; I’ve tortured myself with a similar angst prior to naming this recipe.

An international sampling of names for “Chicken and Rice” based dishes have such a romantic undulation when spoken aloud. The Spaniard’s “Arroz con Pollo“, the Italian’s “Risotto con il Pollo”, or the classic Indian “Chicken Biryani“, are such deliciously edible words, how could their dishes be less than outstanding?

Varietals of native rice are generally the expected grains used in these classic dishes. I adore these rices and harbor no vendetta towards their unique properties and pearly goodness. I am, however, dead-set on using Uncle Ben’s brown rice with my interpretation of Arroz con Pollo, so will not borrow the classic Spanish name for this recipe.

Choice of rice is a “biggie”, in defining a national rice-based dish. Using Uncle Ben’s whole grain brown rice, instead of a Valencia or Calasparra rice, and labelling it “Arroz con Pollo”, could be construed as heresy. Akin, perhaps, to texting friends while sandwiched in a procession of reverent Spaniards during La Marcha Real, the Spanish national anthem.

Different rice varietals, as well, have different cooking techniques to yield the unique desired result. Many require several soaks and washes. Some grains insist upon a sauté in fat with hot broth slowly added. All delicious! Many rice-based dishes are sacrosanct. I would only, for example, use the starchy, short-grained Po Valley, Arborio rice for risotto. But I find, in this recipe, Uncle Ben’s brown rice is healthy, easy to find, user-friendly, and provides a toothsome texture with clearly defined grains.

In this “Chicken and Rice” recipe, the rice is negotiable but for maximum flavor, I highly advise seeking out authentic Smoked Spanish Paprika, available at many groceries around town. You can purchase this in a variety of heat levels. I prefer mild or medium-hot paprika and adjust the heat level of a particular recipe with additional pepper.

I like to cook chicken, especially in dishes such as this, with the skin and bone attached. To reduce fat, however, the skin may be removed before sautéing. I strike a compromise, enjoying the extra flavor the skin and bone lend to the chicken and rice while simmering, but remove the skin before eating.

Recipe: (Spanish) Chicken and Rice


  • 2 1/2-3 pounds chicken breasts, thighs and legs; skin and bones attached
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 link (1/2 pound) uncooked chorizo sausage, meat removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups medium grain brown rice (not instant), rinsed
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed, heated
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 roasted yellow pepper*, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 325˚.
  2. Lightly season chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large, deep heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat oil to medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, sauté the chicken until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes on each side.
  3. Add onion and chorizo to pan, breaking up chorizo with a spoon, and cook with chicken, about 8 minutes. Remove all but one tablespoon fat from bottom of pan.
  4. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up browned spots that may have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Let wine reduce over medium high heat. (This may be cumbersome, particularly if you’ve a smaller pan. You may remove the chicken when deglazing the pan, returning the chicken to the pan before adding hot stock in the next step.)
  5. Add rice, tomatoes, including their juice, 3 cups heated stock and smoked paprika to pan and cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, 15-25 minutes, or until rice is no longer soupy, but not dry. (If using chicken breasts, remove and reserve after 5 minutes of cooking time with the rice. Otherwise the white meat may overcook and toughen.) If the stock is absorbed and the rice remains hard, add more stock and cook until rice is just tender with a chewy texture.
  6. Combine roasted peppers and rice and spoon the rice mixture into a well-oiled baking dish. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, over the rice and place in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit, lightly covered with foil, 10 minutes. Lightly sprinkle with parsley and serve.

*Roasted peppers are available, bottled, at most groceries. It is easy to roast your own pepper: Roast entire pepper over a medium-hot gas flame, charcoal fire or under a broiler until pepper begins to soften and their skins are blistered and lightly charred. Place in a covered container or paper bag to steam. When the peppers are cool, peel, seed and scrape off any remaining charred flakes with a paring knife.

Time: 90 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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