Basque Chicken


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    Navajo Indians or Basque Settlers

Appears in

Native Indian warriors attack the travellers’ train on the Oregon Trail, ‘skipping like enraged monkeys over the roofs, thrusting open the doors, and fighting hand to hand with the passengers’. When the armed attackers ride away in defeat, the courageous Passepartout is missing, and Fogg sets off across the plain to rescue him. This recipe for Basque chicken — given to me by Tony Milford of the Navajo Nation — will keep you warm on cold nights, and comfort you in the wilderness.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 225ml/8fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 225ml/8fl oz white wine
  • 50ml/2fl oz cognac


Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then put them into the hot pan and cook for about 8 minutes, turning them until they are nicely browned on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the chicken to a bowl, leaving the oil in the pan.

Return the pan to the heat, add the onions and peppers, and cook until soft. Stir in the garlic, add the chicken stock, and use a spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan — these will add to the flavour. Add the tomatoes, wine and cognac, stir, then add the chicken pieces.

Loosely cover the pan and simmer over a low to medium heat for about 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Serve with wild rice.