Spanish Basque Chicken...This past week, I was chatting with my sister on the phone. We live miles apart, so its nice to be able to get a chance to catch up every once in a while. We chatted about this and that, and we eventually started talking about food(again!):).... Its really nice to be able to share recipes that we've come across, or that we've tried and liked. She told me about a dish she likes to make.... Basque Chicken. The dish uses Spanish smoked paprika, roasted bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Simple ingredients, but flavorful and easy to do. She loves the fact that she can make it and bake it all in one pan. She originally saw the recipe in a newspaper and loved the simple ingredients and most of all, the ease of preparation. One day she made it for her family, and they really liked it. This is a dish that she's been making for a while now, so she gave me the recipe. I knew it would be a winner, as she has always shared with me some wonderful recipes over the years, including the Tomato Onion Basil Phyllo Dough Pizza, Almost No Knead Bread, and many others. We always enjoyed good, home cooked meals at her place, and loved her baked chicken with roasted potatoes. Mmm Mmm good... So, this is the recipe she shared with me...my inspiration for this post.
I did a little research on Basque Chicken and found out that there are quite a few variations. Most recipes prepare the dish in a skillet... rarely baked(I love the baked version, it's much easier). Some have a French influence, while others have the Spanish influence. The Basque country spreads across the southwestern corner of France and a northern portion of Spain. This explains why there are a few variations. I decided to bring in the Spanish influence in this dish by adding some chorizo and Spanish olives. It was only at the last moment that I decided to add the chorizo. I happened to be at the market buying the chicken and my butcher comes by and says, " Have you seen our new product? We just received some buffalo chorizo the other day." I took a package and looked at the ingredients( as I usually do) and noticed it had no preservatives and had some smoked pimiento in it. Nice. I decided to buy it... all along thinking that my husband would appreciate it:).
I also decided to buy some fresh bell peppers... to make my own roasted peppers. You can't beat homemade, you get this sweetness and wonderful grilled flavor. But, if you can't make your own, you can use a jar of roasted bell peppers. I am sure there are some wonderful brands out there. The recipe doesn't mention any olives, but I had some Spanish pimiento stuffed olives. I decided to use them as many recipes list it as an ingredient. I also love the color and flavor it imparts to the dish. If you don't like green olives, use some black olives, or skip it all together. You know, we really loved this dish... the flavor of the roasted bell peppers/paprika really stands out. It's visually beautiful as well! A great dish to make for a the family or for your guests. It is also gluten free...great for those who are gluten intolerant. The dish is classically served with saffron rice, but I am sure it would be great with some good crusty bread to soak up the sauce...or even some polenta. I am so grateful my sister shared this wonderful recipe with me. I am hoping you will like it as well. You can see the original recipe Here. Give this recipe a try. Hope you enjoy...
Ingredients: Serves 8
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 to 4 pounds chicken breasts, with bone and skin(I bought 4 full bone-in breasts)
2 links chorizo( I used a buffalo chorizo), optional
1 tsp salt , or to taste
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
3 to 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped( I used 5 tomatoes and didn't bother with the peeling and seeding)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth(I used homemade)
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, sliced or 2 roasted red peppers*
Spanish olives, to taste(optional)
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Get your ingredients ready.
3. Spread onions and garlic evenly in the bottom of a large shallow roasting pan.
I decided to saute my sliced onion/garlic...you don't have to. But if you do, just saute sliced onion on low heat for a few minutes...enough to start the caramelizing of the onions( not too long) add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so. Remove from skillet. I also added chorizo(optional). Brown chorizo in the same skillet. Remove and set aside.
4. Cut each chicken breast in half(I cut mine the long way). You know, you can use a whole cut up chicken as well....you might even be able to get away with using just boneless,skinless chicken,too. Though I am not sure if the baking time would be different. Boneless chicken cooks faster and dries out faster.
5. Sprinkle chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper( I seasoned my chicken with salt and pepper and left it overnight in the fridge) . Place chicken, skin side up, in pan(I decided at the last minute to remove the skin:). Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 minutes.
6. Add tomatoes,(chorizo, if using) red peppers and broth(you will notice the paprika sort of dries up on the chicken...I just "smeared" it all over the chicken to give it an even color). I also brought up the chicken pieces above the vegetables so they would brown better. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes, basting chicken occasionally, until chicken juices run clear.
7. Add Spanish olives...I cut mine in half lengthwise. Serves 8.
adapted from Recipe by Tara McElhose-Eiguren and Charles Smothermon, "Basque in the Flavor," Sept. 2009.