Spanish Chicken with Peppers & Jamón

This will probably be the last José Andrés recipe I’ll post for a while as I’ve just discovered three unread issues of Gourmet Traveller jam-packed with some lovely looking winter recipes that I best have a crack at before the cooler days abate. I enjoyed my brief foray into Spanish cooking over the last month or so and look forward to trying out some of José’s warmer weather recipes (gazpacho anyone?) and tapas tempters for spring BBQ guests.

Spanish Chicken
If my blog hasn’t already sufficiently indicated this fact, let me state here and now that I am a big proponent of the slow cooker. I’d love to use it more but my children aren’t mad keen on food that isn’t clearly discernible and sadly the slow cooker does tend to disfigure things to a point where only a forensic scientist can determine its origins. Perhaps more slow cooking next year…

This recipe is intended for oven cooking but turned out mighty fine in the slow cooker also. It is a gorgeously flavoursome Spanish chicken dish that requires you to have a bowl of crusty bread on hand because you will want to mop up every drop of the sauce with it once the bird is eaten. Is it the peppers, or the sweet pimentón? Maybe it’s the complex, almost Vegemite-y flavour of the jamón? I have no idea but I could have had the sauce as soup quite frankly.

Spanish Chicken
My husband was similarly impressed with the flavours but objected strongly to the chicken leg pieces for which he lacked the patience and dexterity to extract the meat. Fair call. Unless you can find very plump Marylands of chicken, it might not be a bad thing to include some boneless thigh pieces or even breast meat along with drumsticks. You just won’t need to cook them for as long though and being in the slow cooker, there’s no danger of the pieces drying out so much.

Spanish Chicken
Chicken being the main ingredient, this recipe doesn’t involve a long cooking time and the Low setting was enough. This being the case, the diced peppers didn’t disintegrate into mush and everything stayed visually quite appetising. I thoroughly enjoyed this with some bread and a glass of wine. Leftovers weren’t wasted either.

Spanish Chicken with Peppers & Jamón (non slow-cooker recipe here)

1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
4 chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated
Salt to taste
4 cups diced Spanish onions
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced red bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup thinly sliced and diced jamón Serrano (Spanish cured ham – use Italian prosciutto if sans jamón)
½ teaspoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
2 cups plain canned tomato sauce
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf

To Make: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in frypan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt then, working in batches, brown them on all sides and set aside in slow cooker pot. You can already turn the slow cooker on (Low). Add the ¼ cup of olive oil to the same frypan, and when the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 5 minutes. The vegetables will cook further in slow cooker so it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through.  Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes before adding the white wine and cooking until it evaporates. Add the jamón and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the pimentón, tomato sauce, rosemary and bay leaf and transfer ingredients to slow cooker pot, covering the chicken pieces. Slow cook for 4 hours, checking the progress and gently turning chicken pieces over at the 3 hour mark. You might be happy to serve at 3 hours if sufficiently cooked through to taste. If you are using boneless pieces, keep an eye on their cooking progress. If they are fairly chunky pieces, they should be fine for the entire cooking time.

Season to taste with salt before serving.



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