December 07, 2014

Arroz con Pollo, Chorizo, y Choclo: Rice with Chicken, Chorizo, and Corn

Rice-based skillet dinners (or other one-pot meals) are very rewarding to make and to eat. I grew up on my mother's iteration of chicken and rice, but as an adult, I've discovered the joy of so many different versions from all over the world. Takikomi Gohan in the Japanese style, for example, Chinese Chicken Fried Rice, Caribbean Chicken & Rice, Italian Chicken Risotto, Russian Chicken Plov, and of course, the many, many versions of Arroz con Pollo - Chicken and Rice to our Spanish speaking friends.

My version plays up the Spanish and Latin American flavours, with saffron and chorizo that you might find in Europe, and the corn that you might find in a Peruvian variation. The method is rather like an oven-finished paella (in the Mark Bittman style); a quick weeknight meal that you can put in the table without a lot of fuss.

I have used fresh corn, cut off the cob, but you could as easily use frozen kernels.

Arroz con Pollo, Chorizo, y Choclo

Serves 4

1 3/4 cups short grain rice, such as Bomba
400 grams boneless chicken, chopped
1 - 2 cups sliced cured chorizo
3 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 fresh corn cob worth of corn kernels (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pinch saffron, brewed
2 teaspoon paprika
splash of dry sherry

Preheat your oven to 400 F., with the rack in the middle or lower-middle slot.

To brew your saffron, grind it with the back of a spoon in a small dish, and add a tablespoon or so of near-boiling water. Let stand for about 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients

In a 30-centimetre skillet, heat the sliced chorizo in the olive oil, and quickly sauté the chicken pieces until lightly golden on the outside, but not cooked through. Add the diced onion and sliced garlic, and stir through. When the onions have turned translucent, add the paprika and the brewed saffron, and keep stirring through. Add the tomato paste, and a splash of sherry, and stir again.

Add the rice, and stir it through until every grain of rice is coated in the rich, golden colour. Add the corn, and stir through until evenly distributed. Add the water or broth (or stock), and stir through once more. Bring the liquid just to a light boil.

Carefully move the (very full!) pan to the oven, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Check to see if it needs a bit more liquid, and add up to a quarter cup if it does. Turn the heat off, and continue to cook with carryover heat for another 10 minutes. Test a few rice grains to make sure they are done. Scoop into shallow bowls, and serve with crusty bread and a salad on the side.

You can garnish with freshly chopped parsley if you like, or a pinch of pimentón - Spanish smoked paprika.

There are so very many more chicken and rice recipes out there to try, from the simple to the far more complex! Biryani, Jollof Rice, Oyakodon, Clay-pot Chicken Rice, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Zereshk many wonderful dishes yet to come.

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