Chicken stew with rice - Chilindron con arroz

Recipe by Neil Morris - 07 June 2012

chilindron

Region: Aragon, Navarra

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins

Oven temp: cooked on hob

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 4

nonveg

The chilindron is a traditional country stew originating from Aragon in north-east Spain and is also enjoyed in Navarra. It is based on a sauce made with red peppers, tomatoes and garlic and can be cooked with either poultry or meat.

Despite it rural origins in the north, the dish has become a favourite in homes and restaurants all over Spain. As with many traditional stews there are many different recipes and finding a definitive version is virtually impossible.

The version here is easy to cook and uses chicken as the main ingredient and is served with good quality Spanish rice; you could also use basmati rice and follow the same method.

Some versions of chilindron use a lot of stock or water and can be very soup-like; they taste amazing but are not quite so nice to look at! This version still has all the taste but can also look great on the plate.

Shopping list

  • olive oil (aceite de oliva)
  • 4 chicken skinless thighs (muslos de pollo sin piel)
  • 4 garlic cloves (dientes de ajo)
  • 2 onions (cebollas)
  • 1/2 cup of finely diced serrano ham (jamón serrano)
  • 3 red peppers (pimientos rojos)
  • 1 tsp mild paprika (pimentón dulce)
  • can of chopped tomatoes (lata de tomates picados)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (ramita de romero)
  • 1 bay leaf (la hoja de laurel)
  • 100ml chicken stock (caldo de pollo)
  • 3/4 cup of rice (arroz)
  • salt (sal)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)
  • parsley to garnish (perejil)
  • salad leaves to garnish (ensalada)
  • thinly sliced bread (pan)

Method

Chop one of the onions and fry gently in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 2-3 minutes then add the finely-sliced garlic and the chicken and continue to fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring all the time, until the chicken is browned all over.

Now add the chopped serrano ham and the chopped red peppers and continue to cook and stir for a few minutes more.

Now add the tomatoes, the rosemary sprig, the paprika and the bay leaf and mix well. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook very gently for an hour or so until the chicken is perfectly tender but not falling apart and the sauce is thick and glistening. About half way through cooking, season the stew, add the stock and a splash of olive oil, then stir and cover again.

Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Finely chop the other onion (use a small onion or half a large one) and fry gently over a medium heat until it is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the rice to the pan and stir until it is covered in oil then add 12 fl oz of boiling water and season. Stir the rice once or twice and then reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover and leave for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is just cooked. Remove from the heat, take off the lid and cover with a clean,dry tea towel then replace the lid over the tea towel and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes.

Spoon the rice into rings and serve with the stew on a warmed plate and a sprinkle of parsley. You could also add a few salad leaves and a thin slice of bread that has been seasoned and baked in an oven for 8-10 minutes at 190°C (375°F).

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