Chicken Basquaise recipe, a very popular French casserole dish from the Basque country. Here I put a Spanish and Moroccan spin on it.
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbsp EV olive oil
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) chicken portions, on the bone or a mix of on and off
- 6 merguez sausages
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp brandy (optional)
- 150 ml (⅗ cup) dry white wine
- 2 x 400 g (2 x 14 oz) cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 jar of grilled/roasted antipasti peppers, about 300 g (10 oz), drained
- 5 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and halved
- 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
- half – 1 tsp salt, to taste
- pinch of sugar
- freshly ground black pepper
- handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Halve, then slice the onion thinly.
- Finely chop the garlic. Or crush it.
- Heat the olive oil on high heat and brown the chicken portions well. The crispy chicken will add to the final flavour and texture. Do this is 2 – 3 batches if your pan isn’t wide enough, as we want the chicken frying, not stewing. Set aside and keep warm.
- Do the same with the sausages, just about a minute, lightly browning, as we don’t want the sausages to overcook. Set aside on a separate plate and keep warm.
- Lower the heat to medium and in the same pan, sauté the onion slices and the bay leaf for 2 minutes, adding a little more oil if necessary.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the brandy (if using) and the wine and deglaze the pan by scraping all the lovely caramelised and dark bits at the bottom.
- Let the alcohol cook down for about 3 minutes, to reduce by half.
- Increase the heat to high and add the chopped tomatoes, the sundried tomato paste, the peppers, the sundried tomatoes, the hot smoked paprika, the salt and the sugar.
- Bring to boil, then lower heat down and cook for 5 minutes for the flavours to intensify a little.
- Increase heat back up to high, add the chicken, along with all the juices in the plate, and stir to coat the chicken with all that tomato sauce.
- Lower the heat right down, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, until the chicken is done. This does depend on the size of the portions you have.
- When the chicken is done, add the merguez sausages, increase the heat to bring back to boil.
- Lower heat right down again and simmer for 10 minutes until the sausages are cooked through. To cover or not depends on how much sauce you want out of your basquaise. If you think it’s too runny, simmer uncovered. If you want all that sauce, as I do, cover.
- When the sausages are done, check seasoning, add more salt if necessary, add some freshly ground black pepper because it makes everything better!
- Garnish with the parsley and serve hot.
- I would take the whole casserole dish and place it on the table for the diners to dish up themselves.
- Cuisine: French Basque with Moroccan/Spanish twist