Did you know unicorns are real? They are. Our eldest, Sarah says so. This titbit of information turned up at dinner last week, just as I was about to serve this summer delight, a delight both Sarah and Herself reckon could be one of my best ever dishes (so far). And it all happened completely by accident.
I hadn’t been expecting too much from my baked chicken thighs with new potatoes and chorizo last week but as it roasted and as we grew hungrier and hungrier still, and as the kitchen filled with the scent of garlic and chicken and sweet paprika, those expectations bloomed.
The end result was more an event than a dish. It was like a meal you’d experience on holiday, in a tiny rustic restaurant somewhere in the Med; summer on a plate.
The juices from the chorizo ran, the sweet paprika added no small amount of depth, the chicken and spuds crisped and the red and gold Santini tomatoes relinquished their juices into the melee so that I ended up rubbing the plate clean with a slice of bread (ostensibly so I wouldn’t have to lick it).
If you’ve ever had that Spanish tapas classic, patatas bravas, you’ll have an idea of the flavours going on here. If you haven’t, then I can’t recommend this enough. On impulse and thinking of patatas bravas, I made a quick aioli and drizzled some of that over the portions. As they say in Spain, “It was el deadly!”
INGREDIENTS (feeds four)
4 chicken thighs, bone in
4 cooking chorizo, roughly chopped
1kg of new potatoes (I used Charlotte), chopped
1 head of garlic, cloves separated but left in their skins
One and a half tsps of sweet paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
300g of cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
Some ripped basil leaves
Two heaped tbsps of mayo
Half a clove of garlic, grated
Dash of milk
Start by chopping the potatoes and adding those and the unpeeled garlic cloves and the chicken to a baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil and rub everything together. Then add the sweet paprika to the chicken and rub that in. Season everything with some salt and pepper and that pinch of chilli flakes, then retire to the oven for half an hour, tossing the potatoes half way.
As that’s happening, chop the chorizo and half the tomatoes and make the aioli by grating the half clove of garlic into the mayo and loosening with a dash of milk so that it’s drizzle-able.
After the half hour, take the tray out of the oven again and toss the spuds and then tuck in the chorizo and scatter over the tomatoes.
Return the tray to the oven for another 25 minutes and that should do it.
Remove from the oven and drizzle with a tbsp or so of balsamic. Another pinch of salt and pepper and then divide the bounty between four plates, making sure everybody gets a bit of everything. Lastly, drizzle over some aioli along with some torn basil leaves and then dive in.
I guarantee… you’ll be scrapping the baking tray and wiping the plates clean. No licking though
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