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Arroz Con Pollo

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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4 pieces chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on

4 chicken drumsticks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Paprika or smoked sweet paprika

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup 2-inch pieces vermicelli pasta

Generous pinch saffron threads

2 cups chicken stock

5 ounces thick-cut speck, smoky ham or Serrano ham, diced

1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped

2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped

2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green

2 chile peppers, red or green, seeded and finely chopped

3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 large ripe heirloom or organic beefsteak tomato, cored and chopped

1 slightly mounded cup long grain rice


  1. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika, add to a pre-heated large, shallow pot with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Once browned, remove the chicken to a plate and drain off the fat. Add butter to the pot and melt. Brown the pasta 2 minutes or until golden, remove to plate and reserve.
  2. Place the saffron and chicken stock in a small pot and warm it up to steep the saffron threads.
  3. Once the pasta is browned and has been removed from the pot, add the remaining tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, and brown the ham, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, garlic and bay leaf to the pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes to soften up a bit, then add the tomatoes, rice. Stir in the pasta and warm saffron stock. Add the chicken and cover the pot, cook 18 minutes, until rice is tender. Serve or cool completely and store for make-ahead meal.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Heat the dish in the oven until heated through. To reheat: Add 1/2 cup stock or water, sprinkled around the pan. If made-ahead and reheated, the rice will become crunchy on top and at the edges, but this can be a plus in the texture of the dish.
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