The provenance of chicken and rice is by no means Portuguese but it is a very popular way of serving chicken. Second only to barbecued chicken rice with chicken is a staple of the Portuguese kitchen. This version highlights the use of two ingredients that really go a long way to adding the signature flavors of this dish: chouriço and saffron. The smokey chouriço and the earthy saffron infuse this dish with a luscious richness that can be served on a Tuesday night or at a weekend dinner party. It is important to score some authentic chouriço but if you cannot get get it you may substitute Spanish sausage, Andouille or if you must kielbasi. While the saffron and chouriço are the main stars here the carmalazation of the onions and carrots add a richness to the dish that cannot be overlooked or skipped.
- 8 bone in chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon Portuguese seven spice powder
- 2 onions diced
- ½ jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
- 5 carrots diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 Portuguese chouriço sliced in ½ pieces
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- ¼ cup Portuguese olive oil
- 3 cups converted or par-boiled rice
- 6 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Season the chicken thighs with the Portuguese 7 spice powder and set aside.
- In a wide pot or Dutch oven heat the olive oil until almost smoking. Fry the chicken thighs skin side down first over medium heat. Make sure not to burn the chicken! You are looking for a light brown color.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- Remove the excess oil and fat (the chicken will render additional oil) until you have about 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot.
- To this add the onions and carrots and sauté over a low flame until the onions are caramelized (about 15 minutes).
- Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook for another minute. Make sure not to burn the onions or the garlic or else it will impart an acrid taste.
- Add the chouriço, bay leaves, half the parlsey and the saffron and cook until the chouriço is opaque and just starting to cook through (about 5-10 minutes).
- Add the chicken thighs and any accumulated juices back into the pot and pour the chicken stock over it making sure to nestle the thighs into the liquid.
- Bring to a boil and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add the rice and cook uncovered until the liquid evaporates and the rice is cooked. While it is cooking taste the liquid to determine if you need more salt or pepper.
- Turn off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes so any remaining liquid is absorbed. If you like the rice more liquidy then don’t let it rest as long or not at all.
- Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the rice and chicken and serve.