Spanish Chicken Braise

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: easy

‘…Dad’s at his best here because it’s all about the sauce… sauce, sauce, sauce. Read how it’s done below. We ran out of bread very quickly.’

Pete
'Inexpensive cuts turned into a sumptuous feast. Fits the bill for a rainy Sunday or a sunny Saturday evening in the garden…'

What you need

8 or more chicken thighs with skin and bone.

2 red onions

6 cloves of garlic sliced

1 red and 1 green pepper

4 cooking chorizo

Small pack of button mushrooms

500g tomatoes

1 red chilli or more to taste

1-2 tsp smoked sweet Spanish paprika

125ml white wine, stock or water

250ml chicken stock

Lemon, salt and pepper, parsley to garnish

1 tsp oregano

4 small bay leaves

Olive oil



Dad's Recipe Tales

Braise, sauté or stew?

This braise is similar to classics such as the Italian cacciatore or French chasseur, coq au vin or fricassee – all types of sauté, stew, or braise: the chicken can be marinated, browned or cooked without browning. It can be cooked with most types of vegetables and it can be cooked with water, wine, stock, tomatoes or cream. The dish can be prepared as a homely and rustic stew, or refined and elegant braise.

This dish, and others like it, are an essential template for the home-cook. The meat can be changed to lamb, pork or beef. Try swapping round the vegetables and flavourings to make characteristic regional dishes from around the world e.g. here tomatoes, chilli, peppers, chorizo and paprika give the dish a Spanish flavour – but you could use wine and chicken stock instead of tomatoes, celery, green beans or haricot beans, tarragon and lemon to give it a more sophisticated French flavour.

How Dad Cooked It

This braise turns the humble chicken thigh into a sumptuous Spanish feast. Just the ticket for a rainy Sunday or a sunny Saturday evening in the garden. This dish is all about the savoury sauce – you’ll want to make sure you have loads of crusty bread to mop it up.

The chorizo, peppers and smoked paprika give this dish a real taste of Spain. You can build on these flavours using dried Spanish chillies such as guindilla and ñora instead of fresh – or try using fino sherry instead of wine or infusing saffron in the chicken stock.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C Gas 4
  2. Sauté the chicken.  Heat a large sauté pan, or large heavy cast iron casserole to medium high heat, add a little olive oil and sauté the chicken skin-side down. Brown the meat on both sides. Put the cooked chicken in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Fry the mushrooms. Use the same pan adding olive oil as necessary. Stir the mushrooms for a minute then cover with a lid to sweat out the water, finally remove the lid and fry again to colour evenly, add the mushrooms to the chicken.
  4. Fry the chorizo and vegetables. Put the chorizo in the pan and fry until it has browned and released its oil. Remove and add to the chicken. Fry the onion, peppers, chillies, garlic and bay for 10 – 15 minutes without browning. Add the paprika to taste and stir for a minute.
  5. Deglaze and braise. Add the wine, stock or water to the vegetables, increase the heat if necessary to boil and reduce the liquid. Remove the skin from the tomatoes (plunge in boiling water for 10 seconds). Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan. Add the oregano, the remaining stock chicken, chorizo and mushrooms. Arrange the chicken skin-side up and heat until simmering. Place in the oven uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  6. Finish the braise. Season to taste with lemon, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.
  7. Serve. This will go well with rice or potatoes and salad – and of course, loads of crusty bread.
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