Spanish Baked Rice with Chorizo and Chickpeas

January 24, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This baked rice studded with chorizo, chickpeas, currants, and tomatoes is my heartier, adapted version of Claudia Roden’s Baked Rice with Chickpeas and Currants from The Food of Spain. A whole head of garlic (called a partridge by Valencians) is baked in the middle of the rice, so everyone can take a few cloves and squeeze out the soft insides at the table. It’s not only charming, the garlic flavors and perfumes the entire dish. Another special detail is the technique for baking the rice at high heat (sans lid). The top layer of rice gets crunchy (with creamier, softer rice underneath), the tomatoes turn soft and jammy, the chorizo browns and crisps, and the garlic turns golden. It’s one of the most foolproof techniques I’ve found for cooking rice.

This one-pot meal is substantial enough to standalone for dinner (a simple, leafy green salad on the side wouldn't be out of place) and versatile enough to be served with meat or as part of a big spread when hosting friends.

For a vegetarian version, double the olive oil and chickpeas, omit the chorizo, and use vegetable stock. Top each bowl of rice with a pimentón fried egg, also highly recommended for leftovers!

A wide, ovenproof braiser or cazuela is recommended for the dish—both for presentation and to maximize the surface area that crisps and browns.

Featured In: Smoky One-Pot Baked Rice with a Strange Technique (& Chorizo, Too)
EmilyC

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 10 ounces chorizo, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (fully-cooked Spanish or smoked, Spanish-style chorizo)
  • 1 whole head of garlic, rinsed but not peeled
  • 1/2 cup currants (raisins can be substituted)
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (smoked or regular)
  • 1 16-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or double the chickpeas if you like them!)
  • 2 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice (or Carnaroli rice or Spanish paella rice)
  • 5 cups chicken stock (ideally homemade; unsalted or reduced sodium if purchasing)
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a wide, ovenproof braiser or cazuela with at least a 3 1/2–quart capacity. (Alternatively, use a Dutch oven with an equivalent capacity, or start the dish in a large pot and transfer to a baking dish that holds at least 3 1/2 quarts). Add the onions, season with a pinch of salt, and saute until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to brown and render a bit of its fat, stirring occasionally, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the whole head of garlic and currants, stirring well to integrate and coat in the fat, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, paprika, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and chickpeas, and cook until the tomatoes start to gently simmer. Add the rice, stirring well to evenly coat, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes to toast the grains. Add the chicken stock and position the garlic in the center of the rice. Bring the stock to a boil, then put the pan (uncovered) in the oven.
  4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all of the stock has been absorbed. (Check at 25 minutes.) If using a Dutch oven, the cook time will be closer to 40 to 50 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, making sure everyone gets a few garlic cloves.

More Great Recipes:
Spanish|Chickpea|Currant|Grains|Paprika|Pork|Rice|Serves a Crowd|One-Pot Wonders|Make Ahead|Summer|Winter

Reviews (42) Questions (0)

42 Reviews

meli6 August 29, 2018
Awesome! Cut the recipe in half, used 2 cups garbanzos ( because we love them), used sliced Spanish chorizo (cut into strips, couldn't find the dry type). So delicious!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC August 29, 2018
Wonderful, and thanks for your note!!
 
Wendy August 4, 2018
This was so good!!! I did not have raisins nor currants but i had dried cranberries so i used them! so good! <br />Also, instead of a whole head of garlic, I used cloves of garlic (skin on). Worked very well also! thank you for this recipe! love it!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC August 5, 2018
Yay—so glad you liked this, Wendy! Thanks so much for trying it and letting me know!
 
Sylwuś K. July 18, 2018
Made it vegan using soy chorizo from Trader Joe's. Love the garlic head idea!
 
Judy June 5, 2018
Where’s the beans.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC June 5, 2018
Do you mean chickpeas? The recipe calls for a 16-ounce can but you can double the chickpeas if you like. They’re added in Step 3.
 
Sarah May 18, 2018
Do you put the rice in cooked or uncooked? Thanks!
 
stevemr May 18, 2018
Uncooked
 
Author Comment
EmilyC May 18, 2018
Thanks stevemr! Sarah, I made a note in the ingredient list!
 
Rose April 15, 2018
Absolutely in love! I make this with lamb from the farmer's market instead ....sooooo good<br />
 
Author Comment
EmilyC April 15, 2018
wonderful! : )
 
Daniela R. April 2, 2018
This was really delicious and very easy to make. I made it vegetarian so I used 2 cans of chickpeas. Next time, I may add even more tomatoes and currants because they tasted so delicious. I previously roasted a garlic head so I knew it would be delicious! I don’t have an oven safe saucepan or Dutch oven so I cooked everything on the stove like instructed and transferred to a baking pan. Just let it cook 40 mins.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC April 15, 2018
So glad you liked this Daniela. Thanks for your note!
 
FrugalCat March 16, 2018
I used golden raisins. The whole dish was awesome. Love the garlic head idea.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 16, 2018
Oh good—thanks for trying it and your note!
 
Stacy G. March 13, 2018
Made it tonight. Quite tasty but a little heavy on the rice for us. Doubled the chickpeas, added the saffron and more tomatoes. Looking forward to enjoying the leftovers and making again.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 16, 2018
Thanks Stacy--glad you liked it and hope you enjoyed the leftovers! While I haven't tried this, you could go lighter on the rice next time (keeping the rice:broth ratio the same)--should work!
 
pottsy.1990 March 13, 2018
This turned out great! It’s just hubby & I but I made the full amount and was so glad I did. Leftovers are making <br />excellent work lunches. First night we enjoyed it with grilled chicken thighs and green beans but I had it with canned tuna today and will have it with a fried egg tomorrow! I didn’t change anything (used carnaroli rice) except for finishing with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 16, 2018
So glad this turned out well for you, pottsy! Canned tuna sounds like a great way to stretch leftovers...will try that myself!
 
marti G. March 9, 2018
This looks absolutely amazing !!!
 
Amber B. March 6, 2018
Made this dish tonight - so good! I followed others suggestions and doubled the chickpeas and used a 25oz box of tomatoes, rather than a 15oz can. I also browned the sausage first, then took it out and browned the onions in the rendered fat. I might add saffron next time I make this. Thanks for a great recipe!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 6, 2018
You're welcome, and I'm so glad you liked this! Thanks for reporting back!
 
Leigh A. March 5, 2018
I enjoyed this dish. I followed the recipe exactly and it was tasty and very simple. But I would make a few tweaks next time: I'd add more chickpeas and more tomato (maybe two cans of each). I cooked the dish in a dutch oven, so expected it to take closer to 40 minutes. I checked after 30 and the rice was done, but the garlic was inedible. Next time I'd lower the oven temp (maybe to 325), so the garlic has more time to soften. I'd also maybe cook the chorizo first, so it gets a little crispy, THEN cook the onion in the rendered fat, and add the chorizo back with the rest of the ingredients. I added some chopped cilantro which was a nice touch (both for flavor and color). Lastly, the dish could use a bit of heat (for those who like spice). Next time I might add some cayenne or red pepper flakes.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 5, 2018
Thanks for your note Leigh Anne! Another thought on the garlic: maybe try sauteing it longer in Step 2, so it's already starting to soften before it goes in the oven. That way, you'll still get the browning effect of the higher heat. I've also added a note about doubling the chickpeas since it's a route that I like to take, as well! Thanks for trying this and reporting back!
 
Hollis E. November 22, 2018
i have another recipe for this dish in a Spanish Paella cookbook by Penelope Casas that recommends roasting the head of garlic in a 450 F oven while preparing the rest of the dish, then placing the head in the middle of the mix and setting it in the oven to bake.
 
stevemr March 3, 2018
Complete success. My husband, who is usually understated in his comments (ok means good; good means excellent) can't stop enthusing about it, and talking about serving it for a dinner party, perhaps as an appetizer. He suggests doubling the chickpeas, which shouldn't affect other quantities. We used 12 oz, of chorizo (wouldn't use more) and a bulb of elephant garlic (other than looks not sure it was an improvement over normal garlic). Leftovers were enhanced by a runny fried egg. Wondering if it would enhanced by drizzling something like aioli over it -- your thoughts, Emily?
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 3, 2018
So happy to hear this was a success!! Yes on doubling the chickpeas!! Truth be told, I went back and forth on the amount, and eventually wrote the recipe to include one standard-sized can, but I do personally like more! So glad you tried the leftovers with a runny egg; I love that route. And aioli drizzled over the top sounds delicious, and I’ve also considered romesco. Let me know if you go this direction! Thanks for your note!!
 
Erin February 25, 2018
Loved the head of garlic idea and how that turned out. Flavor profile didnt work for the kids.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 26, 2018
Hi Erin: a few thoughts about tweaking the flavor profile. My kids prefer the dish without the chorizo because they aren't big fans of its flavor, so you could go that route. Or try substituting the chorizo with a sausage they like, or even shredded chicken. To me, the garlic and the technique of cooking the rice are the two elements to leave alone--but other than that, the flavors can be endlessly changed! Hope this helps.
 
AlexM February 22, 2018
Very underwhelming, especially after sourcing many high quality ingredients. Smelled amazing while cooking, but the flavors just didn't quite do it on the table. I may make this again, but halve the recipe. It's an okay side and a good rice dish, but sickening if eating too much. Got tired of it after a second serving.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 22, 2018
Sorry to hear this! If you’re interested in halving I included instructions in the comment thread below.
 
gcooks February 17, 2018
do you rinse rice till water runs clear, drain and then add to pot to toast? thanks!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 18, 2018
No rinsing needed!
 
Lakshmi February 12, 2018
I would love to make the vegetarian version of this dish. How would you recommend I halve it? Are there some ratios that won’t convert properly? How big a pan would I use? <br /><br />Thank you. -L
 
Matt February 12, 2018
I would like to halve it too
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 12, 2018
Hi Lakshmi and Matt -- I've never halved it, but here's what I'd recommend: keep the full amounts of olive oil, onion, garlic, and chickpeas (because they're so good with the rice) and halve everything else. A small head of garlic will be best (versus a elephant-sized one!). And then a 2-quart braiser or saute pan with high sides should work well. You can always transfer the mixture to a baking dish if your pan isn't ovenproof. But truly, aside from sticking to the noted ratio of rice to stock, the amounts of the other ingredients are flexible and you can do more or less to your taste! Hope this helps, and enjoy!!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 12, 2018
p.s. oh, the amount of salt is important too--make sure to halve it if you're halving the recipe (otherwise it could be too salty).
 
Aleksander M. February 11, 2018
What's the benefit of putting in the whole head instead of peeling the cloves? Just curious. Otherwise, wonderful recipe! Really enjoyed the vegetarian version.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 12, 2018
Glad you enjoyed it, Aleksander! The benefit of the whole head is there's no peeling, chopping, or mess, but you get all of the garlic flavor. Plus, the presentation is so unusual and fun! It's a detail I've never, ever seen before, and it really takes people by surprise.
 
Nancy M. February 8, 2018
Well, this is a revelation. I crumbled a little feta over the top. So fabulous.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 8, 2018
Yay!! So delighted to hear this! Thanks Nancy.