Chorizo, Chicken, Rice & Beans

Sunday, May 12, 2019


As a busy mom, big one-pot dishes are a godsend for dinners. Less to clean up, I can cook my protein, starch, and veggies all together, and leftovers will stretch for a couple days? Count me in. Once you've got a working formula down, these dishes are very easy to customize with the ingredients you have on hand. Serve a quick garden salad on the side if you want to balance with something fresh, and dinner's done. Today's recipe is a variation of a Cape Verdean American dish that my mom's family always cooked for family gatherings, called jag. (Not to be confused with an authentic "jagacida" from the Cape Verdean islands, which is a couscous dish. I learned about that one rather recently, only having known the Americanized version.)  Up in Massachusetts, where my mom's family is from, the food is heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine. Our family's jag is typically made with rice and kidney beans or lima beans, and many people add chorizo or linguiça sausage. I've included chicken thighs and peppers to make it a heartier main dish, and I season my rice a little more aggressively. While other sausages would certainly work for the technique here, they'll make for a very different flavor profile. I've found that the key to cooking rice successfully is to find a good pot that works and stick with it. You'll want something non-stick or well-seasoned, like an enameled cast iron braiser or five quart covered saute pan. A good Dutch oven pot will work too.





Chorizo, Chicken, Rice & Beans

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb cured Spanish chorizo or linguiça links, sliced into rounds*
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1" pieces
1 tsp Kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Spanish paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups parboiled long grain rice, rinsed thorougly
3 cups unsalted chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed*
2 dried bay leaves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro*


Recipe notes:
*Make sure to buy the smoked cured sausage links and not raw ground chorizo
*For other variations try kidney beans, small red beans, or frozen baby lima beans
*Parsley may be substituted if you don't care for cilantro 

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 
Special Equipment: Dutch oven pot, braiser with lid or 5 qt saute pan.

Over medium heat, saute the sliced chorizo for a couple minutes in olive oil, just until starting to crisp around the edges. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and set aside.


Add the chopped chicken thighs to the pan and cook until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as the chicken cooks, and transfer to the bowl once done. The chicken is not safe to eat yet, but it will finish cooking with the rice. Please don't substitute chicken breasts for this recipe as they'll dry out!


You should have plenty of oil and fat from the meat left in the skillet to continue cooking the onions and peppers. If not, add a glug of olive oil. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent, then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.


Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes. Some brands of chorizo are spicier than others, so add heat accordingly. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently.


Stir in the rinsed parboiled rice. Toast the rice for a few minutes, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits in the pan. Parboiled rice is partially cooked, and I've found that it's the most consistent rice to use for this kind of dish. Regular long grain rice or jasmine rice can be substituted, but you should double check the liquid to rice ratios on the package, and may need to adjust the cooking time.


Pour in the chicken stock, then give the liquid a quick taste test to see if salt is needed. It should taste well seasoned, but remember that the meat and beans will also add salt to the dish. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan. Fold in the drained beans and add the bay leaves. The liquid should completely cover the rice by about half an inch, if not add a little more water.


Give the pot a stir and bring the liquid up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pan. Cook for twenty minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked. After turning off the heat, remove the lid and let the rice sit for five minutes.


To finish, remove the bay leaves. Stir in the butter to melt, and fold in the chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve hot, and rest assured you've just made a dinner so good your kids will be happy to wash the dishes.


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