Martha Stewart Living (October 2013)
Choosing chicken dishes to feature here on The Bitten Word always leaves us conflicted.
On the one hand, we love chicken. Love it. We eat it more than any other protein. It is our go-to, our comfort, our "oh-no-it's-so-late-what-are-we-having-for-dinner-oh-let's-just-have-chicken."
On the other hand, according to a quick search of our Recipe Index, we've featured more than 50 chicken dishes on this blog. That, friends, is a lot of poultry.
But still, we love it. And we assume many of you do, too. So we continue to do some chicken dishes here. But we're choosy. We want them to be special, different, something that we and you likely haven't done with chicken before.
The October Martha Stewart Living features a "Chicken Playbook," with five different methods for cooking the dish. There's a roasted spatchcocked chicken (and you all know how much we like spatchcocking), broiled tandoori wings, baked legs, and sauteed paillards. Those all look very good and we're sure we would enjoy them, but we were drawn to the braised Spanish-Style Chicken.
So what makes this chicken "Spanish-style"?
In this case, it's the use of paprika, tomato paste, piquillo peppers and green olives. Together, these ingredients (along with vinegar, garlic and chicken stock) create a rich, flavorful broth in which the chicken braises.
We really liked this Braised Spanish-Style Chicken, but we'd make a few alterations the next time around.
First, on the first night we ate this chicken, we thought it was good, but that the flavor didn't have a lot of punch. The next night, however, when we finished the dish as leftovers, we thought the flavor was wonderful. Like many things, this chicken was better the next day, so if we were making it again, we may just make it a day in advance.
Another thing to consider here is only using smaller cuts of chicken. This recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into 10 pieces. We would likely make this dish next time using only smaller pieces of chicken, like thighs or legs. The flavors really had trouble penetrating the large pieces of breast meat.
But the balance of flavors is great. The piquillo peppers are sweet and smoky -- the ones we purchased had no heat at all, which was fine with us. The peppers are excellent paired with the olives in the tomato-y broth.
As chicken dishes go, this one is very good. And a day after it's made, it's pretty great.
Prep: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Notes from Zach and Clay of The Bitten Word:
Per the write-up above, we recommend either making this dish a day in advance so that the flavors have time to build, or making the dishes with smaller cuts of chicken (such as thighs and legs) so the flavor more fully permeates the meat.
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
6 jarred marinated piquillo peppers, cut into strips (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup green olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
STEP 1 : Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with salt and paprika. Heat an ovenproof 12-inch skillet or shallow braising pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil. Working in 2 batches, add chicken to pan and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes on each side, adding more oil as needed. Transfer chicken as it is browned to a plate.
STEP 2 : Reduce heat to low and stir in garlic, then tomato paste, scraping up browned bits in pan with a wooden spoon. Return chicken to skillet, increase heat to high, and pour in vinegar. Boil, stirring, until reduced to a glaze.
STEP 3 : Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Add peppers and olives. Transfer to oven and braise until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast (do not touch bone) reaches 160 degrees and liquid is reduced by half, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with parsley.