Arroz con Pollo
As often as possible, I try to do the majority of the cooking in one pan. When you’re spending a whole day cooking 5 different make-ahead meals, you will come to appreciate this philosophy (and so will whoever it is helping you do the dishes).
- Generous pinch of saffron threads
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- Salt and pepper
- Sweet paprika, smoked or regular
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup broken vermicelli pasta (2-inch pieces)
- 5 ounces thick-cut speck, smoky ham, or Serrano ham, diced
- 1 large 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 or 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green, diced
- 2 fresh chiles, red or green, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 large heirloom or beefsteak tomato, cored and chopped
- 1 slightly rounded cup long-grain white rice
In a small saucepan, combine the saffron and stock and warm it up to steep the saffron threads.
Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the EVOO (1 turn of the pan) over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown well on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain the fat out of the pan, return it to the heat, and melt in the butter. Add the pasta and cook until golden and toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO (1 turn of the pan) to the pan. Add the ham and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, chiles, garlic, and bay leaf and cook to soften the onions, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato and rice. Stir in the pasta and warm saffron stock. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and cook until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes.
If you’re making this on Cook Day, you can serve the paella now.
Make-ahead: Cool and refrigerate.
Night of: Return the paella to room temp while you preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle 1/2 cup stock or water around the paella. Bake to heat through, 15 to 20 minutes. The rice will become crunchy on top and at the edges, but this can be a plus in the texture of the dish.