Spanish Chicken and Rice is a one-pot recipe, with everything you need for a special dinner cooked together. Chorizo, lemons, sun-dried tomatoes and olives add to the Mediterranean character of the recipe. Perfect for dinner with friends, when you don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen all evening.
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Of course, I’m looking for the easy life when it comes to entertaining. I do like dishes that I can put on to cook and that will look after themselves. If I don’t have to do any last minute titivating or vegetable cooking, so much the better.
This Spanish Chicken and Rice takes a little while to prepare, but the beauty of it is that the work is all up-front, and the food is all cooking in one pot. Then you can go and change and do your face and have a relaxing glass of wine before the hordes descend – or is that just me?
Cooking with lemons and sun-dried tomatoes
I love putting slices of lemon into dishes because it becomes really tender and you don’t feel that you’re eating a bitter thing. The only proviso, really, is to buy thin-skinned lemons. You don’t want a lot of pith.
The tomatoes are sun-dried, and you need the ones in olive oil so that you can use the oil in the cooking. I always get a tiny virtuous feeling at that point because I haven’t thrown away the oil. I am trying to be less wasteful so every small action is a win.
Chorizo and paprika
I use cooking chorizo for Spanish Chicken because it melds better with the rest of the dish. I buy it in a piece (or 2 small ones) and just slice it up into 1 cm chunks. If you’ve bought too much, freeze the rest for another time.
The chorizo and the paprika complement each other well. I use a mild paprika here because there’s enough heat in the chorizo for me, but if you want a spicier dish, use hot paprika – but perhaps only half a teaspoon.
Preparation is the key
There are quite a lot of ingredients in Spanish Chicken and Rice and they are cooked at different times. I find the easiest way to make this dish with least drama is to prepare everything first and put the ingredients in bowls to be added when needed. You need 4 bowls plus the casserole dish, where I put the prepared chicken, as well as a measuring jug for the liquids. Although this might sound like a lot of faffing, it does make the actual cooking fairly stream-lined.
I should say that I used not to be so organised, but I have found that preparing everything first makes for a stress-free experience and a finished dish that includes all the ingredients.
- Olive pitter – If you’ve bought olives with stones (as I did – oops!) you will need to remove them. An olive pitter is the tool for the job. I prefer one with a splatter shield because I use this for cherries as well and the juice goes everywhere.
- Spatter guard – I only bought a spatter guard fairly recently – in the last couple of years – and then I wondered why it took me so long. I have a very large frying pan/casserole so I use a large guard. It reduces the amount of fat that’s distributed all over the hob (and probably the floor).
Spanish Chicken and Rice
- 600 g boneless chicken joints
- salt and pepper
- 20 g olives, pitted
- 1 lemon
- 2 medium onions
- 2 large peppers, red or yellow
- 150 g cooking chorizo, in a piece
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs (10ml)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (5ml)
- 75 g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 250 ml brown basmati rice
- 300 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 150 ml white wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree (15ml)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ gas mark 4/ 350°F
- Cut chicken joints into pieces of about 30g/1 oz:Cut thighs into 2-3 pieces. Cut breasts into 3-4 pieces. Put the chicken aside in the casserole dish and season with salt and pepper
- Slice each olive into 4 rounds and put aside in a dish
- Thinly slice the lemon, discarding the ends, and add to the olives
- Peel, and then slice the onions as thinly as you can and put in another dish
- Remove the pith and seeds from the peppers and slice into rounds, about 1/2 cm thick. Add to the onions
- Skin the chorizo and cut into 1cm slices. Put in a third dish
- Peel and finely slice the garlic. Add to the chorizo with the mixed herbs and paprika
- Slice the tomatoes length-wise, keeping the oil. Add the tomatoes to the chorizo
- Measure the rice into a bowl.
For the Spanish Chicken and Rice:
- Heat a large frying pan on MEDIUM HIGH. Add 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the tomato oil
- Cook the chicken pieces, in batches if necessary, until light golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plateThis takes 7-8 minutes per batch
- Turn the heat up a little and add another tablespoon (15ml) oil and cook the onions and peppers, stirring occasionally to stop them burningThis takes about 5 minutes
- Add the garlic, chorizo, tomatoes, and herbs to the frying pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the lemons and olives and stir
- Put the rice into the pan and cook until coated with oil. Add the stock, wine and tomato puree and bring to the boil
- Pour everything into the casserole dish. Place the chicken pieces on top of everythingYou need to keep the rice under the liquid
- Cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes until the rice is tender.
Everyday Cooks tip:
- If you prefer, you can cook on the hob in a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat to LOW and cook for about 1 hour