I love this dish - vibrant colors, intoxicating aromas, wholesome ingredients, and every culture has their version of rice, meat and vegetables melded together. Think Arroz con Pollo, think Paella, think Jambalaya. Traditionally, these are one pot meals. However, I prefer to cook the rice separately. This way I ensure the meat is cooked to perfection and I get a dry, fluffy, evenly cooked rice that retains nice long grains.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 T. oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat. The oil should be very hot but not smoking. Add chicken in a single layer and brown on all sides. Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate. This may take several batches depending on the size of your pan.
Pour off all but 2 T. fat from skillet, reserving the rest for the rice. Turn the heat to medium low and add onion, bell peppers, celery and 1 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and smoked paprika then cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice and the bay leaves. Nestle chicken in the pot adding any juices from plate. Add the chopped green beans and peas. Cook, covered, over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Saffron Rice Pilaf:
Add the saffron to the white wine and allow to steep.
In an oven safe pot with a tight fitting lid, heat 2 T. of fat from the chicken over medium low heat. Add the rice, stir to coat evenly and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionlly. You are trying to gently toast the rice but it should not turn brown.
Meanwhile, in a separate container, bring the 2 1/2 cups chicken stock to a simmer. I use the microwave for this.
Once the rice is evenly toasted, turn the heat to medium high, add the saffron wine mixture and the remaining salt. Immediately add the hot stock and bring to a boil. Once the pot is at a rolling boil, stir briefly, cover and put in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, keep covered and let sit for another 5 minutes, or until chicken is ready to serve.
This dish can be timed perfectly by starting the chicken first. While the chicken is cooking on the stove-top you cook the rice in the oven so that the two finish about the same time.