The low-stress rhythm of making this dish perfectly suits relaxed weekend cooking: you build it up casually on the stovetop with some easy bits of chopping and stirring, then simply abandon it to the oven. What emerges is a rustic baked rice full of life, with bold flavour, colour and textures.
I deploy some finely chopped preserved lemon early in the cooking and finish with some fresh lemon juice, both of which bring some brightness and emphasise the depth of flavour in the dish as a whole. As an alternative to preserved lemon, grate in the zest of a fresh lemon at the beginning and add its juice at the end.
This is almost a one-pot wonder, except that you do need the stock to be hot when you add it. You could use a good quality bullion cube and dissolve it in recently boiled water from the kettle directly into the pan if you like; a 2-cup pack of liquid beef stock does the trick nicely, even if you have to get out a small saucepan for it. In both cases, pay careful attention to your seasoning, as commercial stocks can tend to be heavy-handed with the salt.
Chorizo and chickpea baked rice
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, coarsely diced
150g (5 oz) chorizo, sliced
1 small red capsicum
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon preserved lemon
200g (1 cup) arborio rice
100g (4 oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
400g (14 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
chopped parsley, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
In a heavy-based deep pan (one for which you have an ovenproof lid), warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and chorizo and cook until the onion is soft and the chorizo has started to colour up.
Meanwhile, deseed and dice the capsicum and cut the cloves of garlic into fine slices. Rinse the preserved lemon and pat it dry with kitchen towel, then chop it finely. Add the capsicum, garlic and lemon to the pan, cooking until the capsicum softens.
Add the rice, stirring to coat, and let it cook for a couple of minutes, just until it loses its chalky whiteness. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and chickpeas.
Pour in the hot beef stock. Add the paprika and cumin, giving everything a good stir to combine. Let it come up to a bubble, then cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it sit, still covered, for 10 minutes. Taste-test for seasoning, and serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.