Spicy Chicken and Rice
- SERVINGS: 4
Medium-grain Spanish rice, such as Valencia, is naturally creamy, so it nicely absorbs the flavors of this classic Spanish dish.
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- One 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 large poblano chiles
- 2 ounces lean, smoky bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 1/2 cups medium-grain Spanish rice, such as Valencia or Bomba
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1 can (14 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, juices reserved
- 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- Lime wedges, for serving
- In a mortar, pound the garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the garlic paste and 1/4 cup of the cilantro; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Roast the poblanos over an open flame or under the broiler until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. Stem, peel and seed the poblanos, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole. Add half of the chicken pieces and cook over moderate heat until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining half of the chicken.
- Add the bacon to the casserole and cook over moderately low heat until the fat begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir over moderate heat until well coated with fat, about 3 minutes. Add the sherry and boil, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the poblanos, stock and 1 teaspoon of salt, then bring to a boil.
- Tuck the chicken into the rice, cover and bake for 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro; serve with lime wedges.
A light red with bright berry notes and lively acidity will cool the heat of the chiles here.