Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adobo chicken with rice

I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first Penzys spice shop to open in the Carolinas, but my neighbor beat me to it. It's OK, though, since she thoughtfully brought me a spice blend that I didn't even know had been woefully absent from my cupboard.

I am now the happy owner of an aromatic jar of Adobo seasoning, which Penzys says includes onion, garlic, Tellicherry black pepper, Mexican oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper. Sounds simple enough, but there really is something quite lovely about the balance that made tonight's dinner so good that it was gone before I thought to take a photo.

I used a cupful of rich, gelatinous turkey stock, the final gift from our holiday bird, which I feel sure was the magic that pulled all the flavors together. It's an indulgent ingredient, however, and one that I'll use in Scrooge-like fashion until the last luscious cube is gone from the freezer. If you're not so lucky, substitute your favorite store-bought broth.

2-3 tbsp canola oil, divided
6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
2 tsp Adobo seasoning (or to taste)
salt, pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeno
1 cup homemade turkey broth (or store-bought chicken broth)
1 cup water
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar (optional)

Pour 1-2 tbsp oil in clay cazuela or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Generously sprinkle meatier side of chicken thighs with Adobo, arrange spice-side down in pot. Dust other side lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then flip. When done, remove to a dish and keep warm.

Add remaining oil to pot along with diced onion. Reduce heat and sweat 4-5 minutes, then add sherry, stirring well to loosen any browned bits. When mostly reduced, add rice and stir well to coat. Add stock, can of tomatoes (with juice) and about a cup of water. Increase heat and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 10 minutes.

Give the rice a stir then tuck in the chicken pieces and any juices. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. If rice is still soupy, remove chicken and simmer uncovered until thickened. Return chicken to pan for last minute, then serve. If desired -- and we did -- garnish with cheese.

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