You know, I’ve no idea if this is Spanish cuisine or not but for the sake of giving it a name, I’m calling it, Spanish chicken bake.
It has all the right ingredients – garlic, paella rice, chicken, cayenne – for a Spanish theme. But to be honest, you could call it, Lunar Chicken Bake, and it’ll still taste class.
Come to think of it, you could also add cumin to the equation and suddenly it’s Mexican. Funny the way the world works.
I made this on Saturday night past and I slurped and savoured over every morsel. It’s the kind of food which is ideally eaten outside on a summer’s evening, when the sky is pink and ocre and you’ve a glass of red wine in you and another for the meal. Needs must though, and at the tail end of winter in front of the telly, it’s still a winner. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
If you’re feeling healthy about things, you can always leave use skinned chicken thighs but personally, I think the crispiness adds another dimension.
• 5 or 6 chicken thighs
• dash of olive oil
• 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
• 1 onion, diced
• half a tsp of cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp of sweet paprika
• 1 yellow pepper, diced
• 5 or 6 sundried tomatoes (the ones in oil), roughly chopped
• 350g of paella or risotto rice
• tin of chopped tomatoes
• big pinch of sugar
• 500ml of chicken stock
• salt and pepper
• fresh basil
• lemon juice (optional)
Add the dash of olive oil to a large frying pan and bring to a medium to hot temp, as you cunningly pre-heat the oven to 190˚C.
When the oil in the pan is hot, add the thighs, skin side down and fry for about three minutes or until you’ve a deep golden colour verging on caramel.
Turn them over and given them a bit of colour on the bottom.
As they’re frying, give them all a good seasoning.
Browned and sealed, remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and yellow pepper. Sweat over a low heat for about ten minutes until soft, then add the garlic and fry for another minute or two.
Now add the rice. Stir it all up so the grains are all coated.
Next add the sun-dried tomatoes, the tin of tomatoes, the chicken stock, a big pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper and bring to a simmer.
Pour all of this into a casserole dish – preferably one with a lid – and then add the chicken thighs on top, pushing down a little but not submerging totally.
Stick a lid on and bang the whole lot in the oven for at least 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.
After that amount of time remove the lid, give it another five or six minutes to crisp up the skin and it’s done.
Serve up with some torn basil, a few shards of sea salt and if you’re using, a squeeze of lemon juice.
Who needs al fresco?
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