Family dinners were an important part of our lives when my children were growing up and are still now whenever we get together. Eating together is especially important with teenagers and I always insisted that my teens be home for Sunday dinner. That meant that my children’s friends often joined us and I liked it that way; I was often cooking for ten and still can’t get out of the habit!
Research, of course, supports the value of family dinners. Just eating together as a family can improve the behavior of your children, their grades, and their language skills as well as reduce their stress level.
This is the first in a series of blogs on food for families. I love one-pot meals. This one is similar to Arroz con Pollo and is inspired by a recipe in Saveur magazine. It’s also not too expensive, about $20 for a family of four.
Brown Rice, Chicken and Chorizo
6 bone-in organic chicken thighs ($9.00)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pork chorizo sausage, cut into 1” slices ($1.65)
1-teaspoon fresh oregano
3 garlic cloves
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1-cup brown rice
½ cup white or red wine (optional)
1 ½ roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded, and cut into thick strips. ($1.15)
3 cups chicken broth ($2.00 to $4.00)
1-cup fresh peas.
Salt, pepper, to taste.
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook chicken skin side down for 8 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the chorizo and continue cooking, stirring frequently until browned, about 5 minutes. Move chorizo to a plate and set aside.
Saute’ oregano, garlic, onion, and bay leaf in the fat left behind in the dutch oven until onion is slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine, bring to a boil while stirring often, and reduce by half, about 1 minute.
Nestle chicken, chorizo and peppers into rice mixture. Pour in broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the amount of broth so that it covers the rice by several inches, leaving room for it to steam well. Cover the dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Transfer to oven and bake until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Timing depends on the size of your pan and your altitude. If rice is not tender, add more broth and cook longer.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven, add peas, and stir them gently into the mixture. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve with a salad of thinly sliced cucumbers and finely chopped red shallots dressed with sour cream and apple cider or red vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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