Easy Spanish chicken with rice will become your new favourite one-pot chicken dish. With big, zesty flavours, it cooks in one pan, and is ready in about 30 minutes.
Easy Spanish Chicken
We are big on easy one pot meals here. When I’ve been cooking and photographing all day, and done some exercise (when you work with food you have to get moving at least once a day), I still want a proper dinner.
We’ve been making lots of stove top rice recently. Rather than serving it as a side, I wanted to turn it into a complete meal. This Spanish chicken with rice was the result. It really couldn’t be easier. Simply fry up some chopped chicken, chorizo, and onions. Then add some seasoning, tomato and rice and leave it to do it thing. Dinner is ready in 30 minutes.
When I tested this recipe a few days ago, I made a double batch for lunch with my goddaughter and her mother. I had hoped that there would be some leftovers. No chance! It was so good that we all had thirds and scraped the pan clean.
I make this in a shallow cast-iron casserole dish (Dutch oven), but a heavy frying pan or skillet with a close-fitting lid would also work. For tomato-based dishes like this one, it is better to use an enamelled pan. This is because direct contact with cast iron can add a metallic taste to the dish.
Why You Will Love This One-Pot Chicken with Rice
- One pot means less washing up! What’s not to love?
- It is an easy no fuss recipe.
- Once prepared, it cooks itself, making it perfect for a mid-week after work recipe. You can do some chores, shower or open the wine while it cooks.
- It is adaptable – add a bit of this, a bit more of this or leave a bit of that out. Your dinner, your rules!
- It is scalable – make a double or even a triple batch.
- This makes two huge servings at under 500KCal a portion!
- Leftovers (if you have them) are perfect for packed work lunches, or can be frozen.
The beauty of cooking rice by the absorption method is that you can measure by volume. Just follow the instructions to get perfect rice every time. You do need a heavy pan with a well-fitting lid and you must resist the temptation to peek at the rice as it cooks.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Chicken – It is far cheaper to buy a whole chicken and joint it, and you get less plastic waste too. I know, however, that very few people do that.
I usually buy thighs if I want chicken pieces, as they are moister and have more flavour. If you buy skin-on thighs, simply pull the skins off. Then use a small paring knife to cut out the bones. Put the skin and bone in a bag in the freezer for the next time you make stock or bone broth. If you really don’t want the fuss of filleting, then just buy thigh fillets.
I only buy free range and preferably organic chicken. You only need one thigh per person for this one-pot chicken, and I think that the higher welfare and better flavour is worth the extra cost.
Canned Tomatoes – All tinned tomatoes are not equal. I usually buy chopped for ease and speed.
I know I’m always saying this but we have found that the cheapest ones are a false economy. They are generally thin and really rather flavourless, and can even have a metallic taste. You don’t need a super-duper premium brand but please choose carefully. The ones I buy are usually around £1 a can, but they are often on offer, so I stock up when they are half price.
This recipe uses half a can. The remainder can be decanted into a plastic tub and frozen until you need it.
How to Make One-Pot Spanish Chicken with Rice
These step by step instructions have lots of hints and tips to help you make the recipe successfully the first time, as well as my secrets to help you become a better and more confident cook.
Step One – Grab your ingredients, just to check you have everything. Measure everything out and put the packets away while you still have clean hands!
By far the easiest way to chop up chicken pieces is with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors.
Step Two – Add a glug of olive oil to the pan. You won’t need much, as fat comes out of the chorizo as you cook it (this flavours the dish). Fry the chopped onion, garlic, chicken thighs and chorizo with a pinch of salt.
Step Three – The onion will become translucent, the chicken will start to brown and the chorizo will shrink to half its original size. At this point, add the paprika and chopped peppers and give it all a good stir.
I’ve used jarred roasted peppers here. This saves all the fuss of roasting and peeling them, and if they are on offer they are often cheaper then fresh. They can sometimes be a bit vinegary, so have a taste and rinse if needed. If you prefer to use fresh peppers, cut into strips and add along with the onion.
Step Four – Stir in the rice and add the tomatoes, tomato puree, olives, and stock. Add a couple of lemon slices for extra flavour.
Remember to waste nothing with flavour! Pour the stock into the empty tomato can before you add it to the pot. Give it a good swirl to catch all the last bits of juice.
Step Five – Bring to a simmer, put the lid on the pan and turn the heat right down. I need to use a heat diffuser ring with my stove. Otherwise, the rice catches and can stick to the bottom of the pan, even on the lowest heat.
Leave the rice to do its thing for 18 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait another 5 minutes.
Step Six – Fluff up the rice with a fork and garnish with fresh black pepper and fresh slices of lemon. Serve your Spanish chicken with salad or steamed greens.
Add Some Extra Veg
If you think in terms of the health advice to eat at least five portions of veg each day, you are getting two portions per person in this recipe. I would usually serve it with a salad, or some steamed greens, so you have at least three or four portions. If, however, you prefer to mix everything in together, it is really easy to add extra veg to your Spanish chicken with rice. Try any of the following:
- Throw in a few stalks of chopped celery and fry along with the onion
- Put some peeled and diced carrot in the pan with the onion (you could use a whole bag of soffritto mix)
- Add sliced mushrooms or courgettes along with the peppers at step three
- Add cauliflower or broccoli along with the stock
- If you have leftovers, stir in a scoop of roasted squash or other roast veg
- Throw in a handful of peas and corn at the end of cooking (I usually zap them in the microwave for a minute to defrost and warm them up.)
- Stir through a generous handful of spinach at the end of cooking.
One-Pot Chicken – Hints, Tips and Variations
- Leave the lid on the pan while it cooks. The first time you make a stove-top rice, do check it half-way through. If the heat isn’t low enough, it can catch and burn at the bottom. Many stoves, particularly gas, need a diffuser ring to get the heat gentle enough. However, if you take the lid off, you will need to add a little extra liquid. Once you know how your cooker behaves, try to leave the lid on throughout.
- This dish could be made in the oven. Follow the technique in my chicken biryani, another great one-pot chicken dish. Cook the chicken on the stove as above.
- Leftover roast chicken is just as delicious. Add it in at step 3 instead of cooking chicken from scratch.
- If you don’t have chorizo, then use chopped bacon. If you don’t eat pork you could try bacon substitutes or leave it out.
- You could substitute smoked paprika for the regular sort to get some of the smokiness without the pork products.
- You can bulk this out by adding a can of chickpeas.
- As lovely as unfinished/non-coated cast iron cookware is, never use it to cook tomato-based dishes as they will taste metallic. Use an enamelled or stainless steel pot.
- Any long grain white rice will work. I prefer basmati. Brown rice will work but will take longer and will probably need more liquid.
- Add a splash of white wine, sherry or vermouth.
- Leftover Spanish chicken with rice is delicious microwaved for a quick lunch. You can also freeze leftovers.
For another chicken recipe, make my one-pot Moroccan chicken.
One-Pot Spanish Chicken with Rice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion (peeled & diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
- 30 g chorizo (about 2", sliced and cut into quarters)
- 2 chicken thighs (filleted, diced)
- 1 tsp paprika (or more to taste)
- 2 roasted red peppers (sliced)
- 200 g chopped tomatoes (half a can)
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 1/2 cup rice (115g)
- 1 cup stock or broth (chicken or vegetable - 240ml)
- 30 g olives (stoned, sliced - about 30g)
- 1 lemon
- Heat the oil in a large saute dish or shallow casserole with a well-fitting lid. Fry the onion, garlic, chicken and chorizo, stirring well. You don't need a lot of oil as plenty of fat will come out of the chorizo.
- Add the paprika and peppers when the onion has cooked enough to be translucent, the chicken has started to brown and the chorizo has reduced in size by half. Stir in well to coat the chicken in the spice, and fry for a further minute or so.
- Add the rest of the ingredients; the rice, canned tomatoes, tomato puree, olives and stock. Add a wedge or two of lemon for extra flavour. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring up to a simmer, cover with the lid and turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer. If using a gas hob, you may need a diffuser, even on the smallest ring.
- Leave the dish to cook for 18 minutes. Once cooked, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve, garnished with fresh slices of lemon.
- Throw in a few stalks of chopped celery and fry along with the onion.
Add some peeled and diced carrot (you could use a whole bag of soffritto mix)
- Add sliced mushrooms at step three.
- Add a scoop of roasted squash.
- Throw in a handful of peas and corn at the end of cooking, I usually zap them in the microwave for a minute to defrost and warm them up.
- Stir through a generous handful of spinach.
- It's worth spending a little extra on quality ingredients. I find that there are real differences between the absolute cheapest canned tomatoes and a better brand, so it's worth trading up.
- But don't waste any! Rinse out the tomato can with a splash of the stock to get every drop of juice.
- Jarred roasted peppers work well in this dish, with good flavour and economical priced. If they are preserved in vinegar, rinse well before adding to the dish.
- The easiest way to cut up chicken is with a pair of scissors or poultry shears.
- Add a glug of white wine, sherry or vermouth along with the stock.
- This dish could be made in the oven. Use the technique used in my chicken biryani just cooking the chicken on the stovetop as above rather than using leftover.
- This recipe is 18 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion