Portuguese Chicken and Rice | sugar & snapshots

Portuguese Chicken and Rice

This Portuguese chicken and rice recipe was one of the first posts on the old blog. Not only did it need an update but it needed to be shared with new friends. So here it is! Again!

I know it’s summer here in the USA and we’re melting under this oppressive heat and humidity, but sometimes you still need a warm hug. This dish is my warm, comforting hug. It really makes me feel good to eat a bowl of this stuff. Whether the season is Winter or Summer, this dish is one pot wonderful, especially if you don’t want to turn on the oven. This has the home-cooked feel that I grew up with but it has enough complexity in flavors and textures to be just a little bit more. And while it’s not really an ‘authentic’ Portuguese recipe and it’s almost a quick and dirty paella minus the saffron and shrimp, I’m calling it my Portuguese Chicken and Rice because the flavors and main ingredients are there and it sounds better than “Pretty good spicy chicken and rice”.

I love this recipe so much that in 25 years or so I can imagine this being my ‘Grandma’ dish that I make every other week for the family. It just makes you feel loved and warm and you always want more. I also love it because the leftovers are packed with so much flavor the next day!

The great thing about this dish is that it consists of ingredients that I usually have in my pantry. Making it with or without the chorizo is up to you and what you have on-hand but if you feel like getting the chorizo, go for it (because it IS delicious).

This chicken and rice dish does takes some time to prep. When making this recipe, make sure to have everything chopped up and ready to go when the recipe calls for it so it takes no time to toss together.

Portuguese Chicken and Rice

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 6 Chicken thighs, boneless, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (roughly 1 c)
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped (roughly 3/4 c)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1/4 c water
  • 6 oz chorizo, sliced on an angle
  • Juice of one Lime
  • 1 c fresh cilantro (coriander), minced, separated in 1/2 c measurements
  • 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 2 c Jasmine Rice


  1. In a bowl combine the salt and minced garlic, crush into a paste with the back of a spoon. Add in oregano, cumin, paprika, pepper, fennel, and vinegar. Mix well. Toss the chicken thighs in the marinade to coat and set aside.
  2. In a large saute pot with lid, dutch oven, or any pot with high sides and a lid but wide enough to lay all the chicken on the cooking surface and not onto of each other and place over medium heat. Add in the onion and green pepper, saute until onion is translucent. Add in the pepper flakes, zest, and 1/2 c of the cilantro. Stir. Remove from pan and place in bowl. Cover with foil.
  3. In the pan add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place in bowl with the vegetables.
  4. Increase the heat on the pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Place the chicken skin side down into the hot pan to brown. Add in any left over marinade still in bowl to coat. When nicely caramelized turn over, and re-add the vegetable mix you previously removed, cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Decrease heat back down to medium-low heat. Add the lime juice to the water, set aside. Add the tomatoes to the pan and quickly add the lime water. It will sizzle, quickly add in 1/2 of the chicken broth. Add the rice and stir. Add the remaining broth and bring to a slow simmer. Add in 2/3 of the remaining chopped cilantro. Once simmering cover and let cook for 5 min. Taste, add in salt, pepper, and extra broth as needed. Let cook for another 15-20 min, until rice is done and moisture has cooked out. Toss gently to not break the rice grains, and break up the large pieces of thighs, toss gently to mix. Serve with a lime cheek and chopped cilantro.

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