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Chicken Catalan

Spanish chorizo sausages can be obtained at most good delicatessens, and are easily recognizable by their bright red appearance. They are made from pure pork flavoured with pimiento (hot red pepper), and so are hot and spicy. If you find them difficult to obtain, use any continental-type cured sausage with a spicy flavour.

ingredients

serves 6
6 small chicken breasts, skinned
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
450 g (1 lb) long-grain rice
1 - 2 tablespoons tomato puree
pinch of saffron strands or few drops of yellow food colouring
1 litre (2 pints) boiling chicken stock
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 g (4 oz) Spanish chorizo sausage or other firm garlic sausage (optional), cut into large chunks
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced into rings
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into rings
100 g (4 oz) stuffed olives
chopped parsley, to garnish

method

1. Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Fry the chicken breasts over moderate heat until golden brown in colour and half cooked through (about 7 minutes each side).

2. Reserve chicken pieces and keep them warm.

3. Add 1 tablespoon more oil to the casserole. Cook the onions over low heat for 2 minutes until transparent but not brown.

4. Add the garlic, the remaining oil and the rice. Stir for a few minutes with a wooden spoon until the rice starts to
colour.

5. Meanwhile, stir the tomato puree and colouring, if used, into the boiling stock.

6. Stir stock, with saffron liquid, if used, into the rice mixture, add paprika and salt and pepper to taste, then bring to the boil, stirring constantly.

7. Add the chicken to the casserole with the sausage and peppers, pressing them well down into all the rice.

8. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is just tender, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to overcook the rice so that it becomes mushy.

9. Add the olives to the rice and heat through for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

10. Transfer to a large warmed serving dish. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top to garnish and serve at once.

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