Sour cream? Yes. This dish is partly inspired by chicken biryani. If marinating chicken in yogurt does wonders, the same is true when you let it sit in a pool of sour cream.
But it isn’t just sour cream that the chicken marinates in. Salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, a bit of cayenne and lemon zest go into the marinade too.
This dish is also partly inspired by Cajun jambalaya. Hence, the inclusion of highly flavored sausage. But instead of andouille, Spanish chorizo is used here.
Basmati rice is always my choice when cooking rice casseroles but you may use other long-grain rice varieties. Why long-grain rice? The longer the rice grains, the less starchy they are. Less starchy rice means the grains won’t clump together during cooking. But you still need to rinse the rice to remove as much surface starch as you possibly can. Then, soak the rice in water for at least half an hour.
To cook the chicken and sausage rice, start with a flavor base. Saute onion, garlic, carrot, celery and bell pepper in butter until a bit softened. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, and continue sauteeing for another minute.
Turn up the heat, add the chicken with the marinade and cook, stirring and tossing, just until the chicken meat loses its raw appearance.
Add the chorizo slices and continue cooking with occasional tossing, until the sausage starts to render fat. You’ll know that fat is rendered when the overall color of the contents of the pan turns reddish.
Spread the drained rice over the chicken, sausage and vegetables and pour in broth. Cover the pan tightly, turn the heat down to LOW and simmer everything together for half an hour.
Stir up the contents of the pan, turn off the heat, cover the pan once more and leave the chicken and sausage rice to continue cooking in the residual heat for another ten minutes.
Chicken and sausage rice (arroz con pollo y chorizo)
- 1 ½ cups long-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup sliced celery
- ½ cup chopped carrot
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- ½ teaspoon rock salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 200 grams Spanish-style chorizo - thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cups chicken broth - must be well seasoned
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- Place the chicken in a mixing bowl, and add the salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, lemon zest and sour cream.
- Mix well, cover the bowl and marinate in the fridge overnight.
- Thirty minutes before you begin cooking, rinse the rice, place in a bowl and cover with water.
- Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and saute the onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper and garlic until starting to soften.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper, and continue sauteeing for a minute.
- Turn up the heat, add the chicken with the marinade to the sauteed vegetables and cook, stirring and tossing, until the chicken meat loses its raw pinkish appearance.
- Add the chorizo slices and cook, tossing occasionally, until the sausage meat starts to render fat.
- Drain the rice and spread over the chicken, sausage and vegetables.
- Pour in two cups broth.
- Cover the pan tightly, set the heat to LOW and cook for 20 minutes without disturbing (meaning DO NOT stir).
- Check if the rice is almost done. If too underdone and the broth had all been soaked up, drizzle in the remaining broth.
- Cook for another ten minutes (whether or not you added more broth).
- Stir the contents of the pan scraping all the way to the bottom.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pan once more and leave for another ten minutes.
- Drizzle in lemon or lime juice and toss before serving.