Whenever I make this Spanish dish, which can be prepared in a single pot, I am taken back to my first "grown-up" apartment in Cambridge. My friends loved eating this golden-hued saffron rice and chicken, which kept me at the stove making it again and again.
- 1 3 to 3½ pound whole chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1⁄8 teaspoon red chile flakes
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2½ cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
- 2 cups Spanish Bomba or other short-grain white rice
- 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives, sliced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled English peas
1. Cut the chicken into eight pieces total: cut each breast in half crosswise and then divide each leg into the drumstick and the thigh. Reserve the wings and back for stock or for another use. Rub the chicken pieces all over with 1 teaspoon salt, lots of black pepper and the oregano. Place in a large bowl, cover, and set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the chicken pieces in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot.
3. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, saffron, chile flakes, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes, 2½ cups water, the wine, and the chicken, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the pot from the oven, add the rice, olives and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir well. Re-cover the pot, return it to the oven, and cook for another 20 minutes. Retrieve the pot again, add the peas and fluff the rice with a fork. Re-cover the pot and return it to the oven for a final 10 minutes. At this point, the rice and the chicken will be tender and the liquid will be absorbed.
5. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food by Joanne Weir, Oxmoor House 2015.