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Arroz con pollo y calabacin (Rice with chicken, courgettes and other vegetable delights)

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
  • Easy
  • Serves 5
This idea came to me as I was cycling down the coast to Ghandia from Valencia. I got lost and ended up idly cycling down a track parallel to the coast (probably the old coastal road), which wound through a vast area of allotments of peppers, courgettes, onions and tomatoes, oranges and crowing roosters in the pounding afternoon heat. With the previous days ride through the rice fields south of Valencia this recipe formed. The addition of asparagus is my attempt at poetic license. I don’t recall seeing any asparagus in those allotments and can easily be omitted (but it does seem to go together rather well). Must be cooked in a paella pan of decent size


  • ½ kg bomba rice (or similar short-grain rice)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped into 2 cms chunks)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped into 2cm chunks)
  • 2 large chicken breasts (chopped into 2cm chunks)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Decent pinch of saffron
  • Pepper & salt to taste
  • Large glass of dry white wine
  • 1 large onion (Chopped finely)
  • 1/2 kg ripe tomatoes – tops cored and cross-slashed at the bottoms
  • ¾ litre of homemade chicken/veg stock – boiling hot
  • 1 large courgette (sliced thickly)
  • 15-20 Asparagus spears (thin) (optional)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • A decent sized measure of good quality EVOO
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (optional)


  • STEP 1
    Plunge the tomatoes into a pan of the boiling broth and after 1 minute remove the tomatoes and set aside in a bowl to cool. Once cooled down a bit slide the skins off the tomatoes and chop up to a rough pulp.
  • STEP 2
    In a decent sized paella pan fry the chicken pieces on all sides until slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • STEP 3
    In the same pan add a little more EVOO if necessary and fry onions, garlic and green peppers slowly until onions are almost caramelised, stirring frequently.
  • STEP 4
    Then stir in the tomatoes and cook for 15mins on a medium heat. Add paprika and saffron and red peppers and continue to cook on very low heat for 5 more mins.
  • STEP 5
    Pour in the rice and stir so that all rice is coated with the mixture. Turn up heat and then pour in the boiling hot stock, and wine. This will result in a soupy mixture. Bring back to boil and then cook on a medium heat for 10mins. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  • STEP 6
    Add courgettes, chicken and asparagus (and cherry toms if using). Stir to mix. Cook on moderate heat for 10mins.
  • STEP 7
    Transfer the paella pan to an oven, preheated to 150DegC and bake for 10 mins. Serve with parsley as a garnish.

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