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Chicken Basque

The delicious combination of chicken and rice, olives and peppers is typical of all the regions around the western Mediterranean but, to my mind, this Spanish version, with the addition of spicy chorizo sausage and a hint of paprika, beats the lot. My interpretation of it also uses dried tomatoes preserved in oil to give it even more character. This recipe will provide a complete supper for four from the same pot – it needs nothing to accompany it!

 Chicken Basque

  Serves 4

 1 x 3½ lb (1.75 kg) chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
 2 large red peppers
 1 very large or 2 medium onions
 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 5 oz (150 g) chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) slices
 2 oz (50 g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil
 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
 1 level tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
 ½ level teaspoon hot paprika
 brown basmati rice measured to the 8 fl oz (225 ml) level in a glass measuring jug
 10 fl oz (275 ml) chicken stock (or stock made from Marigold vegetable bouillon powder)
 6 fl oz (170 ml) dry white wine
 ½ large orange, cut into wedges
 1 level teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
 2 oz (50 g) black olives (pitted if you prefer)
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
Oven temperatures and Conversions
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You will also need a wide, shallow, flameproof casserole with a domed lid, measuring about 9½ inches (24 cm) at the base; or, failing that, any wide flameproof casserole of 8½ pint (4.5 litre) capacity.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection and The Delia Collection: Chicken.


Start by seasoning the chicken joints well with salt and pepper. Next, slice the red peppers in half and remove the seeds and pith, then slice each half into six strips. Likewise, peel the onion and slice into strips of approximately the same size. The dried tomatoes should be drained, wiped dry with kitchen paper and then 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 chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic 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 sun-dried tomato paste, paprika and chopped thyme.

Pour in the stock and wine, and add some seasoning. As soon as everything has reached simmering point, turn the heat down 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, place the wedges of orange in among the chicken and scatter with the olives.

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.

Alternatively cook in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C), for 1 hour.


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