Chicken with rice, sherry and sweety drop peppers

4
60 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 free-range chicken, approx.1.5kg in weight, jointed into 4 pieces (breasts and legs)
  • oil, for shallow frying

For the stock

  • 1.5l water, just boiled from the kettle
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Saffron rice

  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 250g of dry sherry
  • 500g of paella rice
  • 75g of sweety drop peppers
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

1
First, get your stock going by placing the chicken carcass and wings in a saucepan. Cover with the just-boiled water, add the vegetables and aromatics and place on the hob over a medium heat. The key is to bring things to a simmer and gently bubble away, so adjust the heat accordingly. Remember to skim any scum that rises to the surface
2
Once the stock is on the go, take a wide saucepan or casserole and place it on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil, followed by the sliced onions. Stir through then cover for 10 minutes until they’ve begun to soften then take the lid off and turn the heat up
3
Now briskly stir, moving the onions about until they become golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes. If they look like they’re burning, add a drop of water. Once the onions are golden, turn the heat down and add the garlic and thyme leaves. Stir through, cooking for 5 minutes
4
Next, add the dry sherry and simmer for another 5 minutes, until it has reduced a touch
5
By this time, your stock should be ready, so take the stock saucepan off the heat and drain the chicken liquor through a sieve into a jug. You will need 1 litre
6
Next, take the onions off the heat and pour your jug of stock into the wide saucepan and then using a hand blender, blitz until everything is smooth. The result should have a nice light broth but be careful, as everything will still be quite hot
7
Once done, season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle the saffron stems over the top, crushing them with your fingers as you do so
8
Now place the wide saucepan back on the heat and bring the broth back up to the boil
9
When ready, add the rice to the wide saucepan and stir through. Leave to cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes
10
While the rice is cooking, pan-fry the chicken joints. Place a frying pan over a medium to high heat and add a splash of oil. Lightly season the legs first and place them in the pan skin-side down, until the skin becomes crisp – this takes about 5 minutes. Once crisp, flip over
11
Sprinkle the sweety drop peppers over the simmering rice and place the legs on top. Cover with a lid, bringing the heat down to low
12
Lightly season the chicken breasts and add them to the frying pan skin-side down, again frying until the skin is crisp – this will be quicker and should only take about 2 minutes. Flip over the breasts
13
Lift the lid off the wide saucepan and place the breast pieces next to the legs. Cover again and leave to gently poach for 10–12 minutes, until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the rice is soft and tender
14
When ready, remove from the heat and leave covered for just another 5 minutes, for everything to rest. Serve up by removing the chicken pieces and spooning a generous helping of the rice and peppers onto each plate. Cut the breast pieces into slices and joint the legs into two. Divide accordingly. Finish with a few more sprigs of thyme (if you fancy) and serve