Spanish-Style Chicken Casserole

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This dish is incredibly simple, and lots of garlic and paprika give it a real Spanish feel. If you wish, you could remove the skin from the chicken, but it doesn’t produce quite as good a flavour. You can also use chicken breast if you like, and cut the cooking time down to about half an hour. Remember the breast is leaner, so it won’t be as moist.

Ingredients

  • 6 free-range chicken legs
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons smoky sweet paprika
  • sea salt
  • 1 red capsicum (pepper), sliced
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) dry sherry
  • 400 g (14 oz) can peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (purée)
  • 125 g ( oz/¾ cup) green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • freshly ground pepper

Method

Put the chicken legs on a chopping board and separate the thighs from the drumsticks. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large, deep saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add the chicken in batches. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until browned, then remove. Add the onion, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the paprika, some sea salt and the capsicum. Cook for 5–8 minutes, or until soft.

Add the sherry and cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly reduced and the alcohol is burnt off. Add the tomato and tomato paste, stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and add 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water. Gently simmer, covered, for 1 hour, then uncover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the olives and parsley, cook for a further minute, then remove from the heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining paprika, squeeze lemon juice over and give a good grind of pepper. Divide among four bowls and serve.

Accompaniments

  • Like all the other braised dishes, steamed rice, couscous or polenta would be a perfect accompaniment to this dish, with cauliflower, pine nut and raisin gratin on the side. I also wouldn’t mind this with potato or parsnip purée.
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