Spanish chicken and rice

November 7, 2021

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Spanish chicken and rice

The science of eating well: exotic, healthy, quick and delicious recipes.

I confess, I have never been to Spain. I am on the advisory board of a Spanish mental health association for lawyers, but that’s the totality of my connection to the country. I have travelled and worked in every other country in Western Europe—and not a few in Eastern Europe—but Spain and Portugal are, I am afraid, unknown to me.

However, I have long been enamoured of Spanish (and Portuguese) cooking. One of the good things about Iberian cuisine is that it’s very flexible and easy to be creative around.

Today’s dish is a case in point. I have, at various times, made it with shrimp, chicken and tofu (the cooking how-to is basically the same for all of them). I have integrated all kinds of vegetables in it. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week and can be reheated many times without a noticeable diminution in its taste. Alicia is a great fan due to its lack of calories.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500 gms (1 lb) skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 red(or green) bell pepper, diced
  • ½ tblsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice (or almost any other rice will do, but brown basmati rice is healthier)
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • 1 ½ cups low-salt chicken stock
  • 1 cup passata (get a low-salt variety, examine the labels)
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup black or green olives halved
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet or pot. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until chicken begins to slightly brown.
  2. Add the onion, red pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the pepper softens slightly.
  3. Add the rice and tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Mix in the paprika and continue to cook for another minute or so.
  5. Add chicken stock, frozen peas and passata and bring to a boil. Cover the skillet and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.
  6. Add olives and cilantro. Toss and serve with a lemon wedge.

Serves: 6

Energy: 868 kJs (217 calories)

Dr Bob Murray

Bob Murray, MBA, PhD (Clinical Psychology), is an internationally recognised expert in strategy, leadership, influencing, human motivation and behavioural change.

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