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Basque chicken with peppers (Pollo a la Vasca)

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

I always love a recipe where I can set the whole dish on fire! I do favor Basque cuisine, primarily because of the amazing combination of flavors. This recipe is no exception. This dish is very traditional in el Pais Vasco, one of the autonomous communities in the Northern Basque region boardering France.

This dish is cooked in a number of stages that help the flavors come together. The first stage is to roast the chicken with sweet paprika. The next piece is to make the sauce with the influence if serrano ham or pancetta, I used the later, and peppers to a wonderful sauce. The final stage is to cook the roasted chicken with the absolutely delicious sauce and bring the flavors together. The chicken is super moist and fall of the bone tender. The sweet paprika combines with the robust pepper sauce and absorbs the flavors. I served this with a golden cracked wheat bread, it was the perfect tool to sop up the juices. Sometimes I look at a recipe and imagine what the dish will taste like. This recipe completely blew my mind and was far superior to what I imagined. This one is a keeper for sure.

This is one of my favorite cookbook for tapas and other Spanish foods. I have cooked quite a few recipes from this very hefty cookbook, and all of them, like this one are superb. The recipes are true to their core, full of flavor and absolutely delicious. Combined with the fact that I absolutely love Spanish, particularly Catalan, cuisine, this is a cookbook that I go to a lot. I highly recommend this cookbook for those who would like to have great Spanish cuisine on their tables.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


4 chicken drumsticks

4 chicken thighs

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Olive oil

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, finely chipped

3 oz. serrano ham or prosciutto, finely diced

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tomatoes, finely diced

2-3 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4 cup chicken broth or water

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup brandy

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Rub the chicken with the salt, pepper and paprika and brush with olive oil lightly. Arrange in a single layer in an oiled pyrex dish and bake for 30 minutes till the chicken is cooked and tender. Make sure the tops of the chicken do not char too much.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the oil in a deep dish on medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté till the onions are a light golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ham and cook till the ham has rendered its fat and is browned.

Add the red and green peppers and cook till the peppers are cooked through and soft, about 10 more minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and stock/water and bring to a simmer with the lid on. Cook on medium heat till the tomatoes are broken down and you have a wonderful sauce, 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Adjust seasonings. You want a sauce that is the consistency of thin cream, if it is too thick adjust with water or stock as needed.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven. Pour the brandy over the chicken and carefully light the dish on fire with a match. Stand back and be very careful, the alcohol will burst into flame, The dish will burn till the alcohols are consumed by the fire and the flames will completely subside.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake again for 15-20 minutes till the chicken is bubbling in the sauce. Cook till the sauce is thickened. Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to cool and absorb the flavors for 5 minutes.

Serve in the same dish or on a platter with some sourdough bread or other bread to sop up the sauce.

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