One-Pot Portuguese(ish) Chicken and Rice

I went to Portugal last year (in 2017), and in Porto I stayed with a local family via AirBNB. One night when I was there we had a family dinner of chicken and rice. It was so tasty I’ve been wanting to reproduce it ever since. I texted the host to ask for the recipe when I got home, but he never replied. So the other day I decided I’d try to Google recipes on the Internet and make some.

What I ended up with was quite different from what I had in Portugal, but it was still quite tasty. It was the result of combining together several recipes that I found online, and simplifying them a bit. I already had rice, onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini, so I just needed chicken and chouriço (chorizo in Spanish). I walked down to the local grocery store and they had Mexican-style chorizo which is uncooked pork and other sausage ingredients loose in a bag, but not the smoked chouriço that they eat in Portugal, which is a smoked firm sausage in a pork casing, sort of like a salami. But I rolled with it, and I picked up some paprika as well for the recipe.

Here’s the recipe that I ended up making, based loosely on a recipe that is no longer online, sadly.

  • 4 Chicken thighs (skin-on, bone-in). I had large ones, so I chopped each one into a few pieces, each about 2″ by 2″.
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika (to season chicken)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped (optional)
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 6 small carrots, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth (1-2 cans, or 1/2 of a 32oz box). Amount is approximate; you may need to add water anyway.
  • 1 9oz raw Mexican style pork, beef, or chicken chorizo, chopped or torn into chunks. You can substitute kielbasa or other kinds of chorizo/chouriço if desired.
  • 3 cups of rice
  • Herbs to taste (I used thyme and basil)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups water, at or near boiling (or for a richer flavor, more chicken broth)
One-Pot Portuguese(ish) Chicken and Rice on the stove

Here are the steps to prepare it.

  1. Chop (if needed) and season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Optionally, brine chicken for 1/2 hour first and omit salt when seasoning.
  2. Heat a dutch oven or shallow stock pot on the stove over medium high heat and add about 1 tbsp olive oil.
  3. When pot is hot add chicken and sear one side for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Turn over chicken pieces and do the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Note that chicken will not be fully cooked yet!
  5. Put the chicken aside and drain the juices from the pot into a small dish (we’ll add it back later). Don’t clean the pot – It’s OK to leave small bits of chicken skin/meat stuck to the bottom of the pot for now.
  6. Add olive oil to pot and heat over medium heat, and add all vegetables and herbs. Stir-fry for about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add chicken stock, chorizo, and rice, stirring between each, then turn heat up to medium-high until it simmers.
  8. When liquid is simmering reduce to medium, and cover. Add 1 cup near-boiling water or broth. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen bits that may stick there. If it starts to smoke, add some more broth or water (preferably preheated).
  9. Add 1 more cup near-boiling water or broth, chicken, and the set-aside juices from before, and stir to mix things well. Cover and let cook until rice is thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes (stir and scrape, watch for smoke, and add water if needed as before).
One-Pot Portuguese(ish) Chicken and Rice serving

This will keep you fed for a while! After eating one serving, I had enough to completely fill a 10″ by 10″ dish of leftovers. I’d say there are probably 6-10 servings depending on how hungry you are. It makes great leftovers that microwave up nicely, or you can freeze portions for a later day if you think you’ll get tired of it. The leftovers often taste better than the first time!

Warning: As always when eating chicken or pork, make sure that the meat has been fully cooked before eating. Internal temperature should be at least 165° F (74° C) but this should not be a problem as long as the pieces are not too big, since it’s been in boiling liquid. Measure internal temperature before eating just to be sure with a meat thermometer.

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