Serves: Makes 6 servings
- 8 ounces Mexican chorizo or sweet Italian sausage
- 1 (3- to 3½-pound) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (see page 154), wings and back reserved for stock
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¹⁄8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (see page 96)
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½- inch dice (see page 116)
- 5 large cloves garlic, chopped coarsely (see page 100)
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- ¾ cup crushed canned tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2¼ cups medium-grain rice
- 2½ cups chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons capers in brine, drained but not rinsed
- Lemon wedges and hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Procedures:When using a cut-up whole chicken (rather than only legs and thighs) for this dish, you need to take precautions to keep the breast meat from drying out. The trick is to sear the breast pieces briefly and then add them to the rice halfway through cooking. Mexican chorizo, a fresh sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika, delivers more authentic flavor. Look for it in Hispanic groceries.
Cut the chorizo in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1-inch chunks (it’s easier if the casing side is up; the casing shouldn’t come off, but if it does, just discard it). Set aside.
Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Season with 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Heat the oil in a medium (5-quart) Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Sear the drumsticks and thighs until deeply golden on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes (use a splatter screen if you have one). Transfer the pieces to a large bowl. Sear the breast pieces on the skin side only until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to the bowl. Lower the heat to medium and sear the chorizo, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to the bowl.
Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of oil. Spoon out any burnt bits. Combine the cumin, paprika, turmeric, and chili powder in a small dish. Set the pot over medium heat and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often; the moisture in the vegetables will deglaze the browned drippings in the pan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the measured spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to let the flavors bloom.
Add the wine, tomatoes, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and the bay leaf. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the drumsticks, thighs, and chorizo to the pot. Add the rice and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 9 minutes.
Add the breast pieces to the pot, nestling them into the rice, and continue simmering until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 9 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the capers on top of the rice. When spooning out portions, look for the bay leaf and discard it. Serve with the lemon wedges and hot sauce.