My mother would cook many types of rice dishes when I was growing up. For holidays like Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, she would serve special renditions, like rabbit or baby goat. This classic chicken version is just as delicious and comforting and perfect for any occasion.
Technique tip: Poach the chicken breast (garnish) at a low temperature of 180 F for 20 minutes to prevent the chicken breast from getting dry.
Swap option: Arborio (risotto) rice can be used instead of Bomba or Calasparra. Swap chicken for duck for a more upscale version.
Special equipment: Oven-proof casserole dish.
Preheat oven to 350 F.2.
Season the chicken thighs on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine with 2 cups of the olive oil, diced onion, carrots, celery and thyme sprigs in an oven-proof casserole. Cook the chicken uncovered in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the chicken thighs are cooked through and have reached an internal temperature of 165 F (this can be done up to 2 days in advance of making the rice dish). Remove the chicken from the oil and let cool to the touch. Then, using your fingers, pull the meat off the bone. Be careful not to include the loose cartilage on the ends of the bone. Reserve.3.
Heat the remaining 1 cup of olive oil to 180 F. Season the breasts with salt and pepper and add to the oil. Place over low heat or in a low oven and let cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 F, about 20 to 30 minutes. Reserve.4.
Raise oven temperature to 400 F.5.
Heat a large oven-proof casserole over medium heat. Add olive oil, minced onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Let cook until onions are cooked and lightly golden. Add the sweet peppers and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes. Then add the rice, pulled chicken meat, chorizo and the black olives. Pour in the stock and then place in the oven. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.6.
Remove from the oven then sprinkle with the cooked green peas and the sliced herbs. Lastly, add the sliced poached chicken breast on top and serve.