Cuban Chicken and Rice

This dish is a shout-out to Cuba, whose food will probably become more Americanized now that it’s easier for Americans to travel there. Chicken and rice is really the national Cuban dish and most families have their own recipe. This one is mine. It is a close cousin to paella but with Cuban spicing. Use short grain rice, either Spanish or Italian arborio.

Ready time: 1 hour
Servings: 6

1 tbsp chopped garlic

2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp grated lime zest

8 chicken thighs, skinned, bone in

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 red pepper, finely chopped

2 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh

1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned

3 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup beer

2 cups short grain rice such as arborio

1 cup frozen peas

1 roasted red pepper, sliced into strips

Combine garlic, paprika, cumin and lime zest. Rub half of mixture into chicken thighs and reserve remainder for the rice. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in wide, deep skillet or wok on medium heat. Add thighs and brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and add onion and peppers. Reduce heat to medium low. Sauté for 3 minutes or until onion softens. Add remaining garlic mixture, oregano and tomatoes and fry slowly for 5 to 8 minutes, or until flavours have combined.

Stir in chicken stock and beer and bring to boil. Stir in rice. Return thighs and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until chicken and rice are cooked. Add peas and roasted red pepper. Season well with salt and pepper and serve with the avocado salad.