Arroz con pollo sounds fancy and complicated, right? Well, not if you speak Spanish! It’s simply rice with chicken. However, this dish is much more than that. It’s comforting, softly spiced, warm and my favorite part – cooks in one pot! “No, that’s okay honey. I’ll do the dishes tonight.”
- 3 tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 8 skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 220 g chanterelles, roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp dry sherry
- 1 medium green capsicum, finely chopped
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup Bomba or Calasparra rice
- small pinch of saffron threads
- hot sauce, coriander, spring onion and crumbled cotija (see Note), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Working over a bowl, grate the cut side of the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater; throw away the skins.
Set a very large, deep skillet (preferably cast-iron) over high heat and preheat until the pan is just starting to smoke. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, carefully add it to the skillet, skin-side down, and cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
The fat from the chicken skill will render off and give you enough fat to cook the vegetables.
Add the onion and chopped chanterelles to the pan, season with a pinch of salt and cook over medium high, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelised, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic then cook for a further minute before deglazing the pan with the dry sherry. Add the green capsicum and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, pimentón and chille flakes and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the grated tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.
Pour the stock into the skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, saffron and a generous pinch of salt and return to a boil. Nestle the chicken in the rice and cook over moderately low heat, without stirring, for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Season the dish with salt and pepper and serve with hot sauce. Top the dish with chopped coriander, sliced spring onions and cotija.
• Cojita is an aged hard cheese, very salty and firm – a good substitute is a well-aged parmesan or pecorino.
Recipe from Not Without Salt by Ashley Rodriguez, with photographs by Ashley Rodriguez.