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Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

This recipe is based on one, with little changed, by Tyler Florence, one of my favorite chefs and use to be the host of Food 911 on the Food TV network.  It is absolutely delicious and a favorite comfort food of most of Latin America.  Using free range or kosher chickens makes it spectacular.

1 whole    chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces (see notes)
4 tablespoons    olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon    ground cumin
1½ tablespoons    dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 teaspoons    sweet paprika
½ teaspoon    cayenne pepper
~1 pound    chorizo sausages (or another spicy, smoked sausage)), cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large    onion, chopped
2 cloves    garlic, minced
1 medium    red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 whole    bay leaves
2 cups    long grain white rice
1-15 ounce can    diced tomatoes with liquid
3 cups    chicken broth, warm
1 cup    pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. In a small bowl, blend 2 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika and cayenne. Rub each piece of chicken with the spice paste and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the flavor to develop (longer is better).

In a heavy, ovenproof skillet with cover, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Fry the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.   Remove from pan and set aside.

Make a sofrito by sautéing the onion, garlic, bell pepper and bay leaves; cooking until the vegetables are very soft,  another 10 minutes.  Stir in the rice so the grains are well coated with the sofrito.

Add the tomatoes and broth, season with salt and pepper and mix everything until well combined. Return the chorizo and chicken to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and transfer pot to oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is done and the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.

Scatter the olives on top of the chicken and rice before serving.

Notes:  Today's market chickens are bread to have large breasts and can usually be divided into 4 pieces insead of two.



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