May 21 2007

Chicken Basque.

3½ lb – 1.72 kg Chicken, jointed into 8 pieces.
2 Large red peppers or 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper.
1 Very large onion or 2 medium onions.
2 oz – 50g Sundried tomatoes in oil.
2 – 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
2 Large cloves garlic, chopped.
5 oz – 150g Chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into ½” – 1cm slices.
Brown basmati rice, measured to the 8 fl oz – 225 ml level in a glass-measuring jug.
10 fl oz – 275 ml Chicken stock (made from the giblets).
6 fl oz – 170 ml Dry white wine.
1 Level tablespoon tomato puree.
½ Teaspoon hot paprika.
1 Teaspoon chopped fresh herbs.
2 oz – 50 g Pitted black olives, halved.
½ Large orange, peeled and cut into wedges.
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Season the chicken joints with salt and pepper. Next slice the red peppers in half and remove the seeds and pith, then slice each half into six strips. Peel the onion and slice. Drain the dried tomatoes and cut into ½ inch – 1 cm pieces.

Now heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the casserole and, when it is fairly hot, add the chicken pieces – two or three at a time – and brown them to a nutty golden colour on both sides. As they brown remove them to a plate lined with kitchen paper using a draining spoon. Next add a little more oil to the casserole, with the heat slightly higher than medium. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onion and peppers and allow them to brown a little at the edges, moving them around from time to time, for about 5 minutes.

After that add the garlic, chorizo and dried tomatoes and toss these around for a minute or two until the garlic is pale golden and the chorizo has taken on some colour. Next stir in the rice and, when the grains have a good coating of oil, add the stock, wine, tomato puree and paprika. As soon as everything has reached simmering point, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Add a little more seasoning, then place the chicken gently on top of everything (it’s important to keep the rice down in the liquid). Finally sprinkle the herbs over the chicken pieces and scatter the olives and wedges of orange in among them.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over the gentlest possible heat for about 50 minutes – 1 hour or until the rice is cooked but still retains a little bite or cook in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 4, 350ºF (180ºC) for 1 hour.

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