A few weeks ago, I made an old favorite dish that I'd kind of forgotten about—Arroz con Pollo—and was reminded of why it had been a favorite. This version is a bit of work, but nothing too difficult, and it's worth every minute. I won't let this one fall out of memory again!
I had it in mind when I spotted an old clipping from Saveur in my recipe file. This dish uses smoked Spanish chorizo (not the fresh Mexican kind) instead of bacon for that smoky pigginess, and it's divine. I can usually find the Palacio brand around here. You have to start a good 2 hours before you want to eat, but nearly all of that is hands-off time—including 1 hour 10 minutes in the oven. This was lovely with a hearty Ribera del Duero for Valentine's Day.
Chicken and Brown Rice with Chorizo
2½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ pound smoked, dried chorizo, cut into 1"-thick slices (I did more like ¾ inch, but I still found it thicker than necessary. Next time I'll go even thinner.)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh oregano (I forgot to get this, so I used 2 teaspoons dried oregano, which worked out fine.)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used barely a sprinkle—likely not even ⅛ teaspoon—because I wanted more smoke than heat.)
1½ cups long-grain brown rice
½ cup dry white wine
3 roasted red peppers (from a jar), patted dry and cut into thick strips
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
Heat the oven to 400°.
Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, undisturbed, until the skin is a deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Pour off and discard any accumulated fat and juices from the pot. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a plate, leaving the fat behind in the pot. Set the chorizo aside.
Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and crushed red pepper to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned and somewhat soft, about 8 minutes. (Mine got quite nicely browned and very soft in that time—just don't burn it!) Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the surface is glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, bring it to a boil while stirring, and reduce by half, about 1 minute.
Nestle the chicken, chorizo, and roasted red peppers into the rice mixture. (There wasn't much "nestling" going on, as the rice is very shallow. I put the chicken in skin side up.) Pour in the broth and season the liquid to taste with salt and pepper. (I did not add more salt and pepper.) Raise the heat to high, cover the Dutch oven, and bring the liquid to a boil. Transfer the covered pot to the oven and bake until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour 10 minutes. (I checked at that point and there was still some liquid at the bottom, so I let it go another 5 or 10 minutes.) Remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and gently stir in the peas with a fork. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to defrost the peas and allow the flavors to meld.