There are about a million ways to make chicken and rice and I’m always looking for one more. My Spanish Style Chicken and Rice is going to be a welcome treat the next time you want to really enjoy making dinner.
This is one of those slow cooking dishes where you want to pour a cold glass of white wine, put on some mellow tunes, and just enjoy the cooking process.
I was inspired to make this dish from a cooking show I was watching about Ecuadorian food. When I looked up this delicious chicken and rice dish, I found it has roots in Cuba, Spain, and all over South America.
I’m not sure who officially claims it, but since I added smoked paprika to mine – I call it Spanish style.
My daughter said it smells like paella cooking and she’s not wrong. It fills the kitchen with the most amazing smell, very reminiscent of a delicious and traditional paella.
It’s very mellow, like a paella, not spicy – but not short on flavor. Because the rice simmers in that spiced liquid for 45 minutes, you get a really in depth flavor.
One of the reasons I really wanted to start trying some new dishes is because I need inspiration too. Even though my life revolves around food, sometimes I get stumped – sort of like writer’s block. I never tire of cooking, but sometimes I find myself making the same things over and over again. No one likes that.
The yellow of the turmeric creates the most beautiful hue on this rice. I also give it bonus points for being a standout in nutrition.
Turmeric is a spice you should be trying to fit in to your cooking, at least once a week. It has a compound in it called curcumin, which gives all of the health benefits. It’s an anti-inflammatory compound and with everything going on in the world, we all might be holding onto a little more inflammation than normal.
Turmeric needs two things to be absorbed – fat and black pepper. Both of which I have added here. Fat from the olive oil and black pepper in the spice blend. Always make sure those two things are also present when you add turmeric to your dishes.
I hope this dish makes you enjoy the cooking process when you have the time. If you don’t have the time, I added some short cut tips in the notes section of the recipe.
If you love this Spanish Style Chicken and Rice dish and you want more Mediterranean dishes, check out my cookbook, Live to Eat Well
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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small spanish (yellow) onion, about 1/2 cup chopped
1 small green pepper, about 1/2 cup chopped
2 vine ripened tomatoes, about 1/2 cup chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, cut into tiny cubes, about 1/4”
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 cup frozen peas
In a medium sized dutch oven, turn heat to medium and add olive oil
Add chopped onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, and garlic
Turn heat down slightly and saute for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down.
Add carrots, spices, and rice and stir – let the rice saute for 1 minute.
Add the water and salt (see notes about options)
Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, open the lid, stir in the chicken and peas, and let the dish rest on low heat for an additional 5 minutes, letting some of the steam release.
If you want to use chicken stock instead of water, reduce the salt.
Tip: Use rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, or roast chicken during the rice cooking process.
Options for time saving: Use precooked brown rice and frozen peas & carrots mix