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There are various incarnations of one-pan chicken and rice dishes, originating from all over the world, says Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This version, which includes some lovely Spanish flavours, is one of my favourites.
It’s delicious and satisfying, with tangy sweet peppers and tomatoes, and spicy chorizo, to balance the soothing rice, chicken and brothy juices.
Serves six people
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- 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
- 3 red, orange or yellow peppers, deseeded and sliced
- 2 fat garlic cloves, sliced
- 100g chorizo, diced
- 1-2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 250g brown rice (such as basmati), well rinsed
- 1 small chicken, jointed, or 6 bone-in chicken thighs
- 200ml white wine
- about 500ml well-flavoured chicken stock
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved if large
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5.
- Put the onion(s), peppers, garlic and chorizo into a large roasting dish with just a trickle of oil (the chorizo will release its own fat so you don’t need much). Add the bay leaf and some salt and pepper and toss together well. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Tip the rice into a saucepan, cover with plenty of boiling water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until almost al dente (still firm to the bite), then drain.
- Heat a trickle more oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken skin. Put half the chicken pieces into the pan, skin side down, and season their other sides. Fry the chicken for around 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until each piece is nicely browned. Transfer to a dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Everything should be coming together at roughly the same time now: veg, rice and chicken! If the veg or rice get a few minutes more cooking, it doesn’t matter.
- When you’ve taken all of the chicken out of the frying pan, add the wine. Let it bubble while you scrape up any caramelised bits from the base of the pan, and simmer for 3 minutes or so, until reduced by about half. Add the stock and bring to a brisk simmer.
- Take the tray of roast veg from the oven. Stir in the part-cooked rice then add the cherry tomatoes. Use tongs to place the browned chicken pieces on top, skin side up. Pour the hot stock around the chicken – it should just about cover the rice. Cover with foil and return to the oven for 30 minutes. Take off the foil, give the rice a gentle stir and finish in the oven for a final 15 minutes, or until everything is bubbling nicely and the chicken is cooked through.
- Dish up the chicken, rice and veg with any juices from the tray spooned over. This is pretty much a complete dish, but some steamed greens, such as purple sprouting broccoli, cavolo nero or shredded Savoy cabbage, will go well with it.
Taken from River Cottage Good Comfort by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury, £27). Devon-based Fearnley-Whittingstall is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner. He is known for his popular Channel 4 programmes and River Cottage cookbooks, which have collected multiple awards including the Glenfiddich Trophy and the André Simon Food Book of the Year.
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