chipotle chicken with chorizo rice and lime yoghurt

this meal was inspired by a recipe in my new diana henry book a bird in the hand, every uses chicken in every recipe. as is the case with so many diana henry recipes, this is a dish with bold flavours used in exciting ways – the chicken is marinated with spicy chipotle paste and lime juice; the brown rice has sweetness from roasted tomatoes, chorizo and slow-cooked red peppers and spring onions; the avocado and yoghurt flecked with lime zest add freshness.

while this is based on diana henry’s recipe, it is also quite different - i left my chicken on the bone and roasted it rather than frying, which meant that i could just add my halved tomatoes to the roasting dish and allow them to pick up the chicken-chipotle flavours, rather than basting them with a separate harissa and balsamic dressing - having said that, it is a great way to cook tomatoes and boost their flavour; i’ve been using this technique (which was in an earlier book of hers) for many years now and still love their flavour and versatility.

nor did i use the quinoa suggested in the recipe, preferring brown rice; the slow-cooked red pepper and spring onions were also variations on the original, which used spinach and left the spring onions raw. greek yoghurt instead of crème fraiche was the final change, but a much more inconsequential one.

despite all of this, the deliciousness of the meals was very much a testament to the original recipe and i’m looking forward to exploring the book further.

chipotle chicken with chorizo and red pepper rice, with lime yoghurt dressing* (serves 4)

4 chicken pieces of your choice, on the bone with the skin on

for the marinade:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chipotle paste (i used this from cool chile co)

zest and juice of 1 lime

salt and freshly ground black pepper

12-16 small or cherry tomatoes, halved

for the dressing:

200g greek yoghurt (crème fraiche or sour cream would also be fine)

zest of 1 lime

for the rest:

200g brown rice

200-250g chorizo, cut into discs

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

6 spring onions, halved lengthways and chopped into 6cm pieces

½ a tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

juice of 2-3 limes

a handful of chopped coriander and/or mint

2 avocados, halved and sliced

in a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients and then rub all over the chicken. leave to marinate for 4-24 hours and bring to room temperature before cooking. preheat the oven to 200c.mix the tomatoes with the chicken just before cooking, so they have a bit of marinade on them, then place all ingredients on a baking tray and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken juices run clear when you pierce the flesh with a skewer.

in the meantime, cook your rice and make the dressing by mixing the yoghurt and lime zest together, plus seasoning to taste; keep the dressing in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

fry the chorizo – add a little oil if you need to but it will probably release its own oils – over quite a high heat and let the edges crisp up a little. add the red pepper and spring onion and cook until soft and they have begun to caramelise around the edges – i keep the heat quite high until the vegetables soften and then lower it to avoid burning. when the rice is ready and has been drained and placed in a bowl, take the chorizo and pepper mix off the heat and stir in the vinegar and juice of two limes, then mix this into the rice. if you can do this when everything is still warm all the flavours will combine beautifully; it’s up to you whether you eat it hot or let it cool a little (room temperature is nice). taste the rice, season and decide whether it needs more lime juice (you might want to add some lime zest as well) then add the herbs.

serve the chicken and roasted tomatoes with the rice, avocado slices and lime yoghurt dressing.

* based on a diana henry recipe