Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken in Tomato and Sweet Red Pepper Sauce

This evening's offering is an invention involving chicken, tomatoes (the canned variety), Ramiro peppers and dry white wine. An "invention" because I had something in mind but couldn't find a recipe that really seemed to fit the bill. We had these two gigantic free-range chicken legs - far too big for two people (and which seemed perfect for a richly flavoured casserole) and a couple of (equally gigantic!) Ramiro red peppers that really wanted using. I suppose another time I might use a whole chicken. The rest of the ingredients are store-cupboard items for those of us who host a larder. So that I can refer to it later, I reproduce the recipe here - written down by Steve while we were cooking!

Here it is:

Chicken (Legs) in a Tomato & Red Pepper Sauce ("Chicken 52")


4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 free range chicken, skin on, cut into 8 pieces
(or 4 chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks, for 4 people)
2 thick-cut rashers of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
2 medium onions, cut into eighths
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 "Ramiro" red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2cm pieces
2-3 bay leaves
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 handful flat-leafed parsley, chopped
6 oz/200ml dry white wine (vin de pays d'Oc chardonnay)
3 tsp five-pepper mix, ground
2 tsp rock salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
3 anchovy fillets


1. Coat the chicken liberally with the salt and pepper.

2. In a good sized sauté pan, heat the olive oil until shimmering and brown the chicken pieces, in batches, if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon when golden and set aside.

3. In the same oil, fry the onions until soft and translucent then reduce the heat, add the garlic and the bacon or pancetta and continue to fry until the onion is just golden.

4. Add the wine to the pan along with the herbes de Provence and the bay leaves. Turn up the heat under the pan and reduce the volume by half.

5. Stir in the canned tomatoes and the sugar; add the chopped red peppers and the remaining ingredients and bring up to the boil. Stir well, reduce the heat and gently simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes.

6. When the chicken is tender, remove the chicken to a plate and strain the cooking liquids into a bowl. Retain the solids, return the liquid to the pan and boil rapidly reducing by about a third or until the sauce just coats the back of a spoon.

7. Return the chicken and the solids to the pan and stir them into the sauce and warm through.

Serve on a bed of coarse old-fashioned polenta with buttered French beans.

Serves four.

Happy eating!

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