We can pretend we are in the islands and it's not 50 degrees outside. Did you know that cumin has only become popular in the states in the past 30 years. It has always been a principal ingredient in chili powder, but not so much on it's own. I love the wonderful warm smoky flavor it brings to this dish.
1/3 cup olive oil
1 three-pound frying chicken, cut into pieces, or your favorite pieces
3/4 cup diced raw ham
1 cup sliced onions
2 cloves garlic minced
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups raw rice
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/8 teaspoon saffron if you have it. Don't mortgage the house to buy some.
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, add the chicken, ham, onions and garlic and brown the chicken on all sides.
2. Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer slowly until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.
4. Remove the chicken. Heap the rice mixture in the center of a large platter and surround with the chicken. Garnish with strips of pimento, if desired.