Irma’s Chicken and Rice
_ (El Arroz con Pollo de Irma)_
The Colonial style rice dish with tender chicken drumsticks and thighs makes for heart-warming, rustic fare.
4 cups chicken stock
1-11/2 tsp. saffron threads
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. chicken giblets, rinsed and patted dry
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 lbs. chicken thighs and drumsticks
(preferably free-range), skin removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups converted rice
1. Put stock into a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, add saffron threads and bouillon cube, and stir until bouillon cube dissolves. Cover pot and keep broth warm over lowest heat.
2. Heat oil in a 5-quart enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add giblets and cook, stirring often, until well browned all over. Add onions, peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper and add to pot. Add bay leaves, cloves, and 2 cups of the hot broth and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking time.
4. Transfer chicken to a medium dish. Stir rice into pot, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and stir rice again. Arrange chicken on top of rice, cover pot, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 20 minutes. Uncover pot, fluff rice with a fork, and continue to cook until remaining liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes more.
5. Transfer rice and giblets to a serving platter, discarding bay leaves and cloves. Arrange chicken over rice and garnish with a sprig of fresh basil, if you like. Pour remaining broth into a small heatproof pitcher or bowl and serve at the table to moisten the chicken and rice, if you like.