Imperial Rice with Chicken
(Arroz Imperial con Pollo)
A chicken and rice dish fit for royalty.
3 pounds chicken thighs, skin on
4 strips bacon, cut into slivers
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
3 green onions, trimmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)
1/2 cup green peas (frozen)
1 can chopped pimentos
Juice of one medium lime
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 cups uncooked long grain rice
8 cups chicken broth (from the cooked chicken above)
2 teaspoons Bijol or mild paprika
7 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or other mild white cheese
- Wash chicken and place in large saucepan or stock pot. Add approximately two quarts of water to fully cover meat. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered until the meat is tender and falls from bone, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove chicken and reserve the broth. (You will use some of the broth to make the rice.) Skim excess fat from broth. When cool enough, skin, debone and break the meat into small pieces by hand.
- In a large frying pan, sauté the bacon briefly. Drain most, but not all of the excess fat. Add a tiny bit of olive oil and heat. Add onion, green pepper, green onions and oregano. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic and sauté for one additional minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add tomato sauce, chicken and sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) approximately 15 minutes to thicken the sauce. Add peas, pimentos and lime juice during the last five minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a large covered pan, mix the rice with the chicken broth and or paprika. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat until the rice is thoroughly cooked and most of the broth absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Add the mayonnaise to the cooked rice, a little at a time, and mix thoroughly.
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Spread one third of the rice mixture onto the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Layer chicken mixture on top of the rice. Then add another layer of rice mixture. Generously sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese on top of this layer. Add the remaining rice. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese on the top layer, then spread the shredded Monterey Jack completely over top.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and the cheese melts completely and bubbles.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.