Catalan Chicken and Patatas Bravas are two things that seemed destined to go well together. We are talking roasted chicken and potatoes in a rich tomato sauce. What could be simpler?
You need the following:
- Four chicken thighs, legs or two chicken breasts, depending on how many you are serving. (As an option you can also include flour, one egg, breadcrumbs and chicken seasoning to Southern Fry your chicken).
- Four large potatoes
- Two tins of tomatoes
- One red onion
- Two cloves of garlic
- 125 ml of Spanish red (plus another 125 ml to drink while you are cooking)
- Tomato puree
- Some thinly sliced Chorizo sausage
For the vegetables you need:
- Red peppers, courgettes and Aubergines or whatever you like.
- To start, preheat your oven at 200 C.
- Place your chicken thighs and legs in a deep baking tray, coated in a little oil and seasoning, and cook for 30 minutes or until the core of the chicken has reached at least 75 C. Also, check the centre for pinkness or blood.
- After the chicken has cooked for about 20 minutes, you can start on your potatoes. Peel them and chop them into the size of small roast potatoes. Boil them in a pan of lightly salted water until they are soft inside but are still holding their shape. This should take about five minutes. When they are soft, drain the water through a colander and shake them in a circular motion. Leave them to cool for a minute.
- By the time the chicken is cooked, check they are cooked through to the middle. If so, set them aside on a plate. Drain a little of the chicken stock remaining in the tray, into a small dish and set aside. Place the potatoes in the baking tray that the chicken has just vacated and give it a little shake side-to-side. Shake a little oil and seasoning over them and place them in the oven at 200 c and allow them to cook for 20 minutes or until they are brown.
- If you wish to southern fry your chicken, now is the time. Switch your fryer on full. Take three bowls and a pair of kitchen tongs. In the first bowl, place two teacups of flour. In the second, place one beaten egg and half a cup of water, mixed well. In the third one, place a 50-50 mix of bread crumbs and southern fried chicken seasoning, available for any foreign food section of your supermarket. Once your oil is hot, take your tongs and pick up the first piece of chicken. Roll it around, firstly in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs and seasoning, making sure it is well coated. Set it aside on a plate, and repeat the process with the rest of the chicken. Then deep fry all the chicken for thirty seconds to a minute, making sure the surface goes golden brown. Anyway, that is optional. For a truly Catalan flavour, add powdered Almonds to your chicken seasoning mix
- Moving on, peel and slice the onion and garlic. Take a hot, deep pan, the same one you used for the Paella, and place it on a medium heat with a splash of oil. Fry the onions and garlic until they are golden brown. Add your chorizo now. Add the remaining chicken stock and 125 ml of thick red wine. Continue to fry for a minute then add the two tins of tomatoes and a tablespoon of puree. Now reduce the heat and cook the tomato mix slowly.
- By now your potatoes should be nice and brown. Remove them from the baking tray and pour them into the tomato mix, around the edges of the pan. Use the tongs to place them if you prefer.
- Add the chicken to the middle of the pan. Make sure the chicken and potatoes and nicely coated in tomato sauce. Reduce the oven heat to 180 c. Cover the pan in tin foil and place in the oven for a further fifteen minutes.
Now, for the vegetables, as a side dish.
- Slice and core the peppers, slice the courgettes, and/or the aubergines. Some just use peppers, either diced or just cut in big chunks out of the side. Place them in an oven proof dish or pan. Cover with a little oil and seasonings. Place them, uncovered, in the oven for about fifteen minutes.
- To set the table, place knives, forks, spoons, one bread board to serve as a pan stand and even bread if you like. This dish goes nicely with olive bread, as I've just found out.
After twenty minutes the vegetables should be softer and the tomato sauce should be bubbling away nicely.
Using a very thick, dry, kitchen cloth, take your pan of Catalan Chicken and Patatas Bravas and place them on the pan stand on the dining table. Offer around the bread and serve up with a big serving spoon.
And that rounds off our month of Spanish food. It has been quite a challenge for me, and in doing so I have learned some amazing new recipes to pass on.