As a young child growing up in a Portuguese home, with quite a big family around, I think the moments I most remember are the ones spent around the dinner table.
I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, and I think the beginning of this love affair with food and cooking was brought on by my great grandma.
She was quite a strong, amazing woman, always in the kitchen preparing these huge meals for a table of 14 or 15 at a time. As with many large families, dishes were often kept simple but stretched to feed many, as is the case with this rice.
Sometimes she would add in a few shrimp, or some calamari. Other times she would substitute bacon for the chourico, but no matter which way she made it, it was always one of my favorites and today, it's one I prepare for my family and my brother's family, knowing that it will go quite far.
Arroz a Valenciana
1 lb chicken breasts, cubed (you can also use a whole cut up chicken or drumsticks or thighs)
1 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cans of vienna sausages, sliced
2 small chouricos, sliced
Frozen peas (I sometimes use mixed veggies)
2 cups rice
In a pot, add a little bit of olive oil, the onions, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaf and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add in the chicken and the spices and stir well to combine, next pour in the tomato sauce and some white wine, I use about 1/4 cup of wine or so, just eyeball it.
Cook for a few minutes until the chicken is brown, then add in the frozen veggies and a little water and cook for a few minutes more until the veggies are done.
At this point, add in the 2 cups of rice and the sliced chourico. Pour in enough water to cover the rice about an inch above. Stir well and cook over medium heat until rice is to your liking. Some people like the rice to have a bit of crunch to it, while others prefer a mushier rice, so cook according to your family's taste. About 5 minutes before the rice is done, add in the sliced viennas and some chopped fresh parsley.