Basque Chicken


September 15, 2011 by Sara Kreidler

File this under “dishes that do not looking particularly appealing in Sara’s photos but that taste really great and make the whole house smell good.”  You do have a file for that, right?

Alright, enough excuses for the lackluster pictures.  Make this recipe on a cold, wet evening (tonight is such an evening in the ‘burgh); it will warm you up.  Regarding the title, I’ll be honest, I don’t know the first thing about Basque cuisine; I googled it and got a Wikipedia entry which wasn’t terribly helpful.  I can’t even say for sure where we got this recipe from — Toby made it for me one night before we started dating (which seems like it was a million years ago), and I’m guessing he culled it from a cookbook he borrowed from the library and he forgot to write down the source.  We’ve made this recipe many, many times over the last few years; the kids like it too.

Adapted from an unidentified cookbook that Toby borrowed from the library a few years ago


  • 1 whole chicken, quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 long red sweet peppers, sliced into long strips (I used the long red peppers we got from the CSA — not sure what variety they are — but we’ve also used 2 bell peppers here with good results)
  • 1  large yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 thick slice of ham, sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 small dried red chile (such as chile de arbol)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice


  1. Rinse chicken pieces under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, deep cast iron skillet over medium high flame. Brown the chicken, 5 minutes per side. Remove browned chicken from the skillet, transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  3. Add sliced peppers and onions to the skillet and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add sliced ham and garlic to the skillet and cook for 10 more minutes.
  5. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. In a large measuring cup, combine warm water and tomato paste and whisk with a fork to blend.  Add tomato paste mixture, crushed tomatoes with their juices, paprika and red chile to the skillet and stir well to combine.  Increase flame to high, bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low, keeping sauce at a simmer.  Add chicken back into the skillet and make sure chicken is submerged in the sauce as much as possible.  Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, flipping chicken once or twice.  Serve chicken and sauce hot over white rice.

2 thoughts on “Basque Chicken

  1. Nik says:

    That reference is APA right?

  2. Sara says:

    I majored in English, so I still use MLA. APA is for suckers!

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