What to make for dinner? That is a question I am often thinking about. Some evenings it is the usual as I mentioned before (pasta, Asian style noodles or a stir-fry). Some nights I like to make something that is made in one pot or pan. Like a great soup or stew. A pizza or a delicious rice dish.
Like this chicken and rice dish. This is a dish I have been making for years. There was one recipe I used to make and it was a little different than this. Then there was my trusted Gourmet magazine Latin style saffron chicken and rice dish (arroz con pollo). I lost my magazine (or it's here somewhere in my crazy food magazine collection) and luckily was able to find it online here.
When I go to my favorite Spanish cafe around the corner from here, my little guy orders a portion of their arroz con pollo. They are from Spain and they add red pepper to their recipe. I prefer to make the dish without it. If you are a pepper fan, go ahead and add it!
The key to the vibrant yellow color is the saffron threads. Saffron is a spice I add to many of my pasta dishes. It is hard to describe the flavor of saffron as it tastes like no other spice I've ever had before. A little bit of saffron in your recipe will go a long way! Saffron has been described as bitter, semi-sweet, tasting like flowers or honey. If you haven't had it yet, you have to try it yourself and see how it tastes for yourself. My memory of saffron always takes me to Italy and having it in risotto. It adds a delicate burst of flavor and that gorgeous yellow color. Saffron brightens this simple chicken and rice and makes it even a little bit harder to resist. Another delicate flavor addition is a squeeze of lime juice. My Cuban friend reminded me that Cubans add that to their frijoles (black beans)or a little bit of white vinegar. The lime juice was just what was missing from this very easy and delightful chicken dish.
A saffron tip: Saffron is very expensive and has a very strong flavor if too much is used. Add your pinch of saffron to a teaspoon of warm water or or the broth you have heated up for this dish for five minutes. The natural flavor will be released and it will help to avoid any saffron clumping in the recipe.
There is so much to love about this easy dinner idea. My son gets very happy when he sees it is what I'm making, "Yes, mommy! It's my favorite Spanish chicken and rice!!". My daughter prefers her baked chicken with a nice sweet and sticky sauce. I love the scent of it simmering on the stove. It's there cooking nicely while I'm doing something else. Like thinking of what to make for dinner the next night!
Very Easy One Pot Chicken and Rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Ingredients (4-6 servings)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds chicken legs and thighs
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup medium- or long-grain white rice
- 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- Pinch of crumbled saffron threads, optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 cup peas (frozen)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- squeeze of lime juice
Add the oil to a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. When oil is heated, add the chicken pieces skin side down. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
Turn the chicken over and sprinkle on a little more salt and pepper (to taste) and cook; approximately 10-15 minutes total. When evenly browned, remove the chicken pieces from the pan.
Remove most of the oil (you'll just need 2 Tablespoons) and add the onions. Cook until they are transluscent. Add the rice, saffron and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Place the chicken pieces back in the pan and make sure the rice is surrounding the chicken all around it (not all the rice in one pile underneath it).
Cover the pan with the lid. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. (If you would like to check the temperature of the chicken, put the thermometer in thickest part of the thigh and temperature should be between 155-165 F) The rice should be tender and the chicken cooked through.
If the rice seems too dry and the chicken isn't ready, add another 1/4 cup of boiling stock and let it cook for about another 10 minutes.
When it is cooked, remove the pan from the heat; add the peas and check the seasoning. Add the lime juice (optional).
Add more salt and pepper, if needed, according to your personal taste.
Remove the bay leaf.
Stir together to combine and let the pan sit with the lid on for about 10 minutes.